FINANCE

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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REAL ESTATE

Mrs. Fields to debut new store at Arista Place

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Broomfield, Colo. — Mrs. Fields Cookies said Tuesday it will open a new location at Arista Place, located in Broomfield, Colo.

The flagship store, which is slated to launch construction this month, will feature a new store design and branding. It is expected to open in March 2013.

The new design, said the company, will incorporate more soft seating and a retail area for ordering cookie gifts online. The corporate location will also serve as the company’s training university for new franchisees.

The enhanced design, completed by Fitch Design Services, will be utilized as the company’s new brand identity and store design moving forward.

“This new location will be a great addition to the emerging development taking place at Arista Place,” said Tim Casey, CEO of Mrs. Fields Cookies. “Mrs. Fields is an iconic brand and we feel that Arista is a great place to debut our new look, including the addition of innovative products, brand imagery focusing on the 35-year history and a unique retro design, all of which are key components included with the concept’s 2013 brand re-launch program.”

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SUPPLY CHAIN

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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