THE SWEETEST THING
Candy remains a blockbuster performer for convenience stores.
BY SARAH HAMAKER
division, attributed the increase to strong sales of
king size candy bars, the store’s most popular candy
“Candy sales are up overall because we’re doing
a better job of merchandising our best-selling
products,” said Rick Bradley, manager of retail
operations for Fiesta Mart, owned by AVP Metro
Petroleum. The Tulsa, Oklahoma, chain operates
a dozen locations in the state. A little more than a
year ago, Fiesta Mart revamped its candy section,
jettisoning slow moving items to reduce the overall
number of candy products. “That move allowed
customers to find the popular candy better and our
sales didn’t suffer at all,” he said.
Sales at convenience stores have been on the
upswing for Stuckey’s branded candy. “Across all
subcategories, we’ve done much better the last 18
months and we expect that to continue as gas prices
remain low,” said Jack Boucher, vice president of
Stuckey’s Corporation, which operates more than
110 stores across the United States in addition to
distributing its own line of candy.
However, not every convenience store has found
candy sales consistently rising. At Jake’s Market &
Deli stores, category sales went soft five or so years
NACS research coordinator.
Candy grabbed 2.75% of total inside sales in 2015,
and ranked at number six on the top 10 category sales
by gross margin contribution, according to NACS
State of the Industry data. (2015 data was released
in April at the State of the Industry Summit.) Candy
also snagged the sixth spot in the top 10 in-store
category sales excluding cigarettes.
“Overall, candy continues to deliver growth in
convenience, with candy, mint and gum dollar
sales up 2.7%, according to Nielsen data,” said Alan
Tobin, senior manager of category strategy and
insights in the c-store/VCFr/specialty/foodservice
division at The Hershey Company.
A Sweet Category
Retailers concurred that customers still gravitate
toward a little something sweet. Last year, candy
sales rose a whopping 31% at Last Minit Mart Convenience Stores, a 10-unit chain headquartered in
New Castle, Pennsylvania. “We did a reset of candy last spring to add more pegged and bagged
candy, and those changes brought in
more customers to the category,” said
Jeff Taylor, director of stores.
Candy sales are up around 5% at
Mickey Mart Food Stores, headquartered in Milan, Ohio. Jason
Appel, vice president of