FINANCE

Study: Wal-Mart supercenters benefit California communities

BY Dan Berthiaume

Sacramento, Calif. – Wal-Mart supercenters in California benefit communities by supporting additional job creation, small business growth and more robust sales tax revenues. According to a new economic impact report conducted by economist Lon Hatamiya of the Hatamiya Group, on average, California communities with Wal-Mart supercenters fared far better on taxable retail sales than those communities without Wal-Mart supercenters.

In addition, total taxable retail sales in California communities with Wal-Mart supercenters increased by an average of 20.3% after the opening of those stores, and total taxable retail sales in California communities without Wal-Mart supercenters decreased by an average of 11.7% during the same time period.

On average, California communities with Wal-Mart supercenters experienced even stronger gains in the number of retail business permits issued than those communities without supercenters. Total retail business permits in California communities with Wal-Mart supercenters increased by an average of 48.5% after the opening of those stores. Total retail business permits in California communities without Wal-Mart supercenters also increased, but only by an average of 20.3% the same time period.

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FINANCE

Study: Holiday gift card sales rise

BY Dan Berthiaume

Portland, Ore. – Fifty-seven percent of consumers purchased digital gift cards in December 2013 and 43% purchased physical cards. Data from prepaid product and transaction services company InComm also shows that 80% of consumers purchased digital cards in the six days leading up to Christmas and 20% of consumers purchased physical cards in the six days leading up to Christmas

Sales of physical cards peaked on Dec. 17, with sales decreasing every day after that, while sales of digital cards began a marked upward trend beginning on Dec. 17, with sales increasing after that and peaking on Dec. 24.

In addition, Shopkick leverages the InComm Digital Solutions platform to instantly connect Shopkick users with their digital gift card of choice to be scanned at the retailer’s point of sale. During Black Friday alone, Shopkick employed the InComm platform to deliver nearly seven times its usual daily volume of digital gift cards.

"We’re thrilled to be Shopkick’s partner and to have helped them successfully address such high demands on Black Friday," said Mike Fletcher, senior VP of sales and marketing for InComm Digital Solutions. "In a recent consumer survey conducted by InComm, nearly 70% of consumers stated they are more interested in purchasing digital gift cards now than they were two to three years ago. Further, our own internal holiday data reveals the increased sales opportunities created by offering digital in addition to physical cards. These numbers demonstrate how brands benefit when they open up gift card sales through all channels."

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Susser completes Sac-n-Pac acquisition

BY Dan Berthiaume

Houston — Susser Holdings Corporation and Susser Petroleum Partners LP have closed their previously announced acquisition of the convenience store assets and fuel distribution contracts of Sac-n-Pac Stores, Inc. and 3W Warren Fuels, Ltd.

The Sac-n-Pac chain includes 47 convenience stores in the South Central Texas corridor between San Antonio and Austin. Sac-N-Pac operates its proprietary food service concept in 23 stores, six of which also include a branded food service concept. 3W Warren Fuels supplied approximately 65 million gallons of motor fuel annually to the 47 Sac-N-Pac locations and to approximately 20 independent dealer locations. Susser Petroleum Partners has taken over the wholesale fuel supply for all of these locations, which are currently branded under Exxon, Shell and Valero flags.

The total purchase price was approximately $88 million plus inventories. All 47 of the Sac-n-Pac stores are fee properties. The acquisition also includes one stand-alone branded quick-serve restaurant, five raw tracts of land for future store development and the right to acquire two additional tracts. The company plans to initially operate all of the 47 stores under the Sac-N-Pac brand but may elect to convert some of the sites to the Stripes brand, may add the Laredo Taco Co. brand to certain locations or may elect to convert some sites to the company’s wholesale dealer network.

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