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Report: C-store traffic declines in Q3

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Houston — A Tuesday report by NPD Group found that total consumer traffic through convenience stores was down 2.1% in the third quarter, compared with the same period last year.

NPD’s convenience store market research reports that the traffic decline this quarter was largely driven by lower purchase frequency (5.9 visits per 30 days), but was also influenced by a slight decline in the overall reach of the channel (only 50.2% of consumers aged 16+).

The decline in third quarter visits was typically more severe among major oil company-branded c-store chains (especially those more overly dependent upon gasoline), while small independent chains did slightly better, according to NPD’s Convenience Store Monitor, which continually tracks the consumer purchasing behavior of more than 51,000 convenience store shoppers in the U.S. The average check in the third quarter increased 2.5%. This increase did not appear to be driven by more items in the basket, and was likely due to a combination of higher prices, larger sizes, or changes in mix such as continued shift to higher ticket categories.

“The third quarter weakness in c-store traffic compared to year ago can likely be attributed to rising gasoline prices in the quarter and ongoing pressures from competitive channels such as grocery, drug, dollar and mass that are encroaching on the convenience shopping occasion,” said David Portalatin, executive director of industry analysis for NPD’s convenience store research.

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IDC releases preview of Top 10 Predictions for Retail Industry

BY Marianne Wilson

Framingham, Mass. — The impact of omnichannel retail on the supply chain, customer experience and merchandise optimization is one of IDC Retail Insights’ Top 10 Predictions for the Retail Industry in 2013.

IDC will reveal the complete list on Dec. 6 (click here for more information), but as a “preview,” the company predicts the following three trends will make an impact on the retail industry in the coming year:

  • Omnichannel retail, now at the heart of modern retail strategies, create a new set of operating rules for supply chain, customer experience, and merchandise optimization.
  • Retailers will come to grips with the relative lack of maturity when it comes to offering an engaged and genuine customer experience. Investments that create a unified brand experience will accelerate to make up ground.

  • Supply chains will evolve into trusted, efficient, and effective (TEE) ecosystems that assure that the brand promises made to the consumer at the front end of a shopping episode are kept when executing on the delivery of the order regardless of channel.

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Staples ask small business to join its network

BY CSA STAFF

FRAMINGHAM, Mass. — Staples and LinkedIn have teamed up to launch SUCCEED: Small Business Network, an online forum for small business professionals.

SUCCEED gives small business professionals the opportunity to network, seek advice, have discussions and share success stories and professional hurdles, while giving Staples the opporunity to engage with one of its core customers segments. The forum will also offer information and content in a variety of ways, including a small-business oriented special edition of LinkedIn Today, an editorial platform that aggregates and curates highly relevant and targeted news from one million publishers across the web.

“At Staples, we’re always providing new ways to help our small business customers succeed,” said Alison Corcoran, SVP of marketing, Staples Retail. “Together with LinkedIn, we have the opportunity to develop a vital small business community and build on our relationships with this important segment through the leading social network for professionals.”

To engage members, the managed group will offer benefits such as industry expert profiles, targeted events, incentive awards, spotlight Q&As and weekly polls. The content will be managed and monitored by a dedicated editorial staff at LinkedIn.

“We are pleased to work with Staples to create an environment which offers content that matters to small business professionals,” said Jonathan Lister, VP, North American Sales, Marketing Solutions, LinkedIn. “Through SUCCEED, we aim to give our members the resources they need to be more productive and successful within the digital and social context that is most relevant to them.”

Staples branding will be visible throughout the group’s page, including a “Powered by Staples” tag and four areas of branded content on the right rail. LinkedIn has also placed measurement tools on the group’s page for administrators and members to gauge performance using on-site analytics.

Both companies aim to engage existing Staples customers as well as capture the attention of new small business professionals. As such, both companies will amplify insights from the group through a combination of member-facing emails and e-newsletters, messaging on the Staples LinkedIn Company Page and posts on social media channels. The forum is accessible at Linkedin.com/succeedsmallbiz.

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