How to Be a Super Market
Done right, edible and perishable grocery items in convenience stores can
offer opportunity. BY JAMIE HARTFORD
Average edible grocery sales per store fell more than 2% in 2011.
Edible and perishable grocery items help put the “conve- nience” in convenience stores. Time-pressed customers can
pop in to grab a box of spaghetti for dinner or cereal and a banana for breakfast
without having to navigate the endless aisles, lengthy lines and crowded
parking lots of supermarkets or big-box stores. But sales in these categories have suffered in recent years, and
as more operators add foodservice to
their offer, shelf space for edible and
perishable grocery items is eroding.
Though sales have fallen off, these
categories are still important for operators, drawing traffic, key customer
groups and — in the case of perishable
grocery items — lending convenience
stores a fresh, healthful image that’s in
line with the attitudes of today’s consumers.
CA TEGORIES IN DECLINE
The edible grocery category showed
significant declines in both sales and
profitability last year, according to
NACS State of the Industry (SOI) data.
The edible grocery category comprises
items including packaged coffee and
tea, cereal, condiments, canned goods,
pasta and other boxed items. Perishable grocery items include fresh fruits
and vegetables and deli products.
Average edible grocery sales per
store fell more than 2% in 2011, to
$13,404, and were off more than 4.6%
from 2009. Stores’ gross margins on the
items dropped more than 2. 6 percentage points, and the category contributed $480 less to the average store’s bottom line than it did in 2010. Perishable
grocery items fared even worse, with
sales falling close to 3% in 2011.
“We are seeing major declines in the
conventional edible grocery items that
convenience stores have been carry-
ing for years,” said Jerry Smith, owner
of Appleton, Wisconsin-based J Smith
Business Consulting, which specializes
in convenience stores.
› Packaged Coffee/Tea
› Breakfast Cereal
› Other Edible Grocery
NACS category definitions can be used to
establish performance benchmarks and a
framework for retailers and suppliers to
discuss market performance comparisons.
For more NACS category definitions visit