Truenorth Hosts CSD’s Second-Annual New Products Consumer Choice Contest

20160728_155829 [107077]Customers excitedly expressed their opinions on the new products that were displayed at this year’s Consumer’s Choice New Products Contest.

By Amber Koontz, editorial assistant

Convenience Store Decisions’ (CSD) second-annual Consumer’s Choice New Products Contest kicked off on Thursday, July 28 at 2 p.m. in the parking lot of the truenorth convenience store in Medina, Ohio.

The event, which had live radio coverage, drew in crowds of truenorth customers as well as curious passersby who were eager to taste test and evaluate a range of new products in a variety of categories and have a chance at winning a $50 fuel card.

Customers who stopped by the contest tent grabbed a new product evaluation form and dug into the variety of foods and beverages before them. Many customers expressed their excitement about having the opportunity to sample products—many of which haven’t even hit the shelves yet—but they were even more excited to have the chance to voice their opinions on these new items.

Having the chance to sample as many products as they desired, customers were asked to rate the items they tried on taste, innovation, likeliness to buy and portability. The contest hosted over 60 different product SKUs, and there was something for even the pickiest eater to try.

Health Food is a Hit
One category that garnered a great deal of excitement was the Healthy Options category. One customer, Pam Watson, from Dayton, Ohio expressed her approval for some of the healthy options that were offered at the event.

Watson expressed particular excitement over a snack pack that featured apple slices, cheese cubes, nuts and dried cranberries. “I work in the schools as a physical education teacher,” Watson said, “and I would love to see more kids eating something like this. It has everything: protein and vitamins, and it’s gluten free and low in calories!”

Watson’s daughter, Anna, said that she typically stops at a convenience store twice a month, but she said she would definitely stop more often if her local convenience store offered a wider variety of healthy options.

20160728_143102 [104283]

A number of truenorth regulars stopped by the contest tent, spending a good portion of the afternoon sampling as many products as they could. Of these regulars, many were able to identify at least one of the products offered as something that they hope to see on truenorth’s shelves in the future.

“I really like this drinkable yogurt,” said Kelly Albertoni, who visits the Medina truenorth store on a daily basis. “I would definitely buy something like this. I would also be happy to see more organic products on the shelves.”

Traveling salesman Scott Newcomb, who eats at a convenience store at least three days a week, also said he would be happy to find more healthy food options at convenience stores. “I mostly eat burgers or other grab-and-go items,” Newcomb said. “But it is all the same, and it gets pretty boring. I love to try new items that look good. Something unique is always a nice break from the ordinary. Healthier options are great, because it is important to have balance.”

Bringing in Business
If the big, white tent surrounded by crowds of excited consumers wasn’t enough to draw in more customers, the live radio coverage for the event sure was. One team member working inside the truenorth store told CSD that a number of customers had come to the register saying that they had heard about the store on the radio and decided to drop by to grab some snacks for the road.

“I am really excited that the event is bringing some extra business into the store,” agreed Lindsey Lyden, vice president of development and administration for Truenorth Energy LLC.

Lyden stated that she had not known what to expect from the event, but she was quite pleased with the turnout. She remarked upon the excitement that the event had evoked in the customers, and she was happy to find that many of the products included in the competition were high quality and deserving of a spot on the shelves in truenorth stores. Lyden also remarked on the importance of this type of event, not only to suppliers, but to convenience stores and consumers as well.

20160728_153150 [104094]

“Consumers’ opinions are extremely important,” Lyden said. “Customers want their voices to be heard, and listening to consumer opinions will benefit store business. Therefore, it is important that stores offer product feedback to vendors, and it crucial that suppliers take the customer’s voice into consideration.”

Contest Results
Contest winners for each product category will be featured in the October issue of Convenience Store Decisions. Feedback will be offered to the product manufacturers, based on the contest results.

In addition to gathering feedback for suppliers, this event helped customers to feel more engaged with their local convenience store. Offering consumers the opportunity to voice their opinion on products that may soon appear on the shelves of their local store helps consumers feel that their voices are being heard and know that their opinions matter in the grand scheme of things. Understanding the evolving tastes of consumers is crucial in the convenience store business, and there is no better person to provide feedback on the desires of the consumer than consumers.

 

 

 

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Truenorth Hosts CSD’s Second-Annual New Products Consumer Choice Contest

20160728_155829 [107077]Customers excitedly expressed their opinions on the new products that were displayed at this year’s Consumer’s Choice New Products Contest.

By Amber Koontz, editorial assistant

Convenience Store Decisions’ (CSD) second-annual Consumer’s Choice New Products Contest kicked off on Thursday, July 28 at 2 p.m. in the parking lot of the truenorth convenience store in Medina, Ohio.

The event, which had live radio coverage, drew in crowds of truenorth customers as well as curious passersby who were eager to taste test and evaluate a range of new products in a variety of categories and have a chance at winning a $50 fuel card.

Customers who stopped by the contest tent grabbed a new product evaluation form and dug into the variety of foods and beverages before them. Many customers expressed their excitement about having the opportunity to sample products—many of which haven’t even hit the shelves yet—but they were even more excited to have the chance to voice their opinions on these new items.

Having the chance to sample as many products as they desired, customers were asked to rate the items they tried on taste, innovation, likeliness to buy and portability. The contest hosted over 60 different product SKUs, and there was something for even the pickiest eater to try.

Health Food is a Hit
One category that garnered a great deal of excitement was the Healthy Options category. One customer, Pam Watson, from Dayton, Ohio expressed her approval for some of the healthy options that were offered at the event.

Watson expressed particular excitement over a snack pack that featured apple slices, cheese cubes, nuts and dried cranberries. “I work in the schools as a physical education teacher,” Watson said, “and I would love to see more kids eating something like this. It has everything: protein and vitamins, and it’s gluten free and low in calories!”

Watson’s daughter, Anna, said that she typically stops at a convenience store twice a month, but she said she would definitely stop more often if her local convenience store offered a wider variety of healthy options.

20160728_143102 [104283]

A number of truenorth regulars stopped by the contest tent, spending a good portion of the afternoon sampling as many products as they could. Of these regulars, many were able to identify at least one of the products offered as something that they hope to see on truenorth’s shelves in the future.

“I really like this drinkable yogurt,” said Kelly Albertoni, who visits the Medina truenorth store on a daily basis. “I would definitely buy something like this. I would also be happy to see more organic products on the shelves.”

Traveling salesman Scott Newcomb, who eats at a convenience store at least three days a week, also said he would be happy to find more healthy food options at convenience stores. “I mostly eat burgers or other grab-and-go items,” Newcomb said. “But it is all the same, and it gets pretty boring. I love to try new items that look good. Something unique is always a nice break from the ordinary. Healthier options are great, because it is important to have balance.”

Bringing in Business
If the big, white tent surrounded by crowds of excited consumers wasn’t enough to draw in more customers, the live radio coverage for the event sure was. One team member working inside the truenorth store told CSD that a number of customers had come to the register saying that they had heard about the store on the radio and decided to drop by to grab some snacks for the road.

“I am really excited that the event is bringing some extra business into the store,” agreed Lindsey Lyden, vice president of development and administration for Truenorth Energy LLC.

Lyden stated that she had not known what to expect from the event, but she was quite pleased with the turnout. She remarked upon the excitement that the event had evoked in the customers, and she was happy to find that many of the products included in the competition were high quality and deserving of a spot on the shelves in truenorth stores. Lyden also remarked on the importance of this type of event, not only to suppliers, but to convenience stores and consumers as well.

20160728_153150 [104094]

“Consumers’ opinions are extremely important,” Lyden said. “Customers want their voices to be heard, and listening to consumer opinions will benefit store business. Therefore, it is important that stores offer product feedback to vendors, and it crucial that suppliers take the customer’s voice into consideration.”

Contest Results
Contest winners for each product category will be featured in the October issue of Convenience Store Decisions. Feedback will be offered to the product manufacturers, based on the contest results.

In addition to gathering feedback for suppliers, this event helped customers to feel more engaged with their local convenience store. Offering consumers the opportunity to voice their opinion on products that may soon appear on the shelves of their local store helps consumers feel that their voices are being heard and know that their opinions matter in the grand scheme of things. Understanding the evolving tastes of consumers is crucial in the convenience store business, and there is no better person to provide feedback on the desires of the consumer than consumers.

 

 

 

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Cold Brew Coffee Competition Heats Up

IcedCoffeeCremeWarm months call for cool and refreshing coffee.

Cold coffee is becoming a hot new trend this summer, with 10% of consumers surveyed by Packaged Facts drinking iced coffee most often. A number of restaurant and foodservice establishments are adopting iced or chilled coffees, as are retailers who offer ready-made beverage options.

While 10% drink iced coffee most often, only half of coffee drinkers exclusively take their coffee hot. Cold brew iced coffee, moreover, is clearly having a day in the sun. Among U.S. coffee drinkers, 5% choose this slower, smoother and less bitter brew most often. More broadly, 14% report having ordered cold brew coffee at a restaurant or café.

In a June 27, 2016 press release on the launch of its cold brew coffee, Dunkin’ Donuts reports being the top seller of iced coffee in the U.S. Iced coffee has helps Dunkin’ Donuts and other coffee purveyors compete in warmer months and increase visits beyond the breakfast dayparts, especially with younger customers.

Dunkin Donuts’ cold brew is marketed as “crafted by hand … in small batches and served each day while supplies last.” Like Starbucks before, with its launch of a cold brew coffee last summer, Dunkin’ Donuts aligns with consumer demand for distinctive, limited-time experiences and hand-made, artisanal products. The current cold brew craze, in fact, has its roots in neither fast food nor supermarket chains, but in local coffee shops and specialty roasters.

Dunkin’ Donuts describes its s cold brew as a “rich, smooth coffee with an inherently sweeter flavor reminiscent of dark chocolate.” Framed by those encouraging words about flavor, cold brew is presented as pure black coffee–though customers can of course customize with add-ins such as milk and sugar.

Cold brew black coffee stands out not only against a wall of donuts, but against the ubiquity of coffee drinks as liquefied desserts. Iced (along with frozen) drinks more typically cater to a sweet tooth, as evidenced by Dunkin’ Donuts limited-time coffee drinks in candy bar flavors such as Heath or Almond Joy, cookie flavors such as Chips Ahoy or Oreo, and ice cream flavors such as Cookie Dough or Jamoca Almond Fudge.

Dunkin’ Donuts national launch of cold brew in summer 2016 comes a year after Starbucks’ own cold brew initiative.   Starbucks, however, hedged its bets more between black coffee and sweet, creamy coffee by marketing its cold brew as “available with house-made vanilla sweet cream.”

Starbucks has an edge over Dunkin’ Donuts in both overall U.S. consumer base and in high-frequency customers:  Starbucks draws 17.3 million adult patrons, of whom 1.7 million are high-frequency customers (at least 10 visits a month), according to Simmons national consumer survey data, while  Dunkin’ Donuts brings in 16.4 million, of whom 1.3 million are high-frequency customers.

Despite their distinct brands and geographic footprints—Dunkin’ Donuts has a Northeastern stronghold, versus the Pacific Coast for Starbucks—the two companies have much in common, including about a third of their customer base. Both are strongest in major metro areas, among customers with college degrees and with household incomes of $100,000 or more. Overall, both have consumer bases that are significantly more likely than U.S. adults on average to be calorie-conscious, and to work at eating a well-balanced diet.

This calorie-consciousness may put wind in the sales of cold brew as a black coffee option, or at least as a sugar-free coffee and milk drink, according to Packaged Facts research director David Sprinkle, and may help Dunkin’ Donuts rack up some of Starbucks’ strength among younger adults. “Dunkin’ Donuts chocolate-reminiscent but calorie-free cold brew should appeal disproportionately to health-conscious consumers, especially as a high-frequency drink,” according to Sprinkle. “Younger consumers are also disproportionately drawn to bolder flavors, and nothing is bolder than black coffee.”

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Cold Brew Coffee Competition Heats Up

IcedCoffeeCremeWarm months call for cool and refreshing coffee.

Cold coffee is becoming a hot new trend this summer, with 10% of consumers surveyed by Packaged Facts drinking iced coffee most often. A number of restaurant and foodservice establishments are adopting iced or chilled coffees, as are retailers who offer ready-made beverage options.

While 10% drink iced coffee most often, only half of coffee drinkers exclusively take their coffee hot. Cold brew iced coffee, moreover, is clearly having a day in the sun. Among U.S. coffee drinkers, 5% choose this slower, smoother and less bitter brew most often. More broadly, 14% report having ordered cold brew coffee at a restaurant or café.

In a June 27, 2016 press release on the launch of its cold brew coffee, Dunkin’ Donuts reports being the top seller of iced coffee in the U.S. Iced coffee has helps Dunkin’ Donuts and other coffee purveyors compete in warmer months and increase visits beyond the breakfast dayparts, especially with younger customers.

Dunkin Donuts’ cold brew is marketed as “crafted by hand … in small batches and served each day while supplies last.” Like Starbucks before, with its launch of a cold brew coffee last summer, Dunkin’ Donuts aligns with consumer demand for distinctive, limited-time experiences and hand-made, artisanal products. The current cold brew craze, in fact, has its roots in neither fast food nor supermarket chains, but in local coffee shops and specialty roasters.

Dunkin’ Donuts describes its s cold brew as a “rich, smooth coffee with an inherently sweeter flavor reminiscent of dark chocolate.” Framed by those encouraging words about flavor, cold brew is presented as pure black coffee–though customers can of course customize with add-ins such as milk and sugar.

Cold brew black coffee stands out not only against a wall of donuts, but against the ubiquity of coffee drinks as liquefied desserts. Iced (along with frozen) drinks more typically cater to a sweet tooth, as evidenced by Dunkin’ Donuts limited-time coffee drinks in candy bar flavors such as Heath or Almond Joy, cookie flavors such as Chips Ahoy or Oreo, and ice cream flavors such as Cookie Dough or Jamoca Almond Fudge.

Dunkin’ Donuts national launch of cold brew in summer 2016 comes a year after Starbucks’ own cold brew initiative.   Starbucks, however, hedged its bets more between black coffee and sweet, creamy coffee by marketing its cold brew as “available with house-made vanilla sweet cream.”

Starbucks has an edge over Dunkin’ Donuts in both overall U.S. consumer base and in high-frequency customers:  Starbucks draws 17.3 million adult patrons, of whom 1.7 million are high-frequency customers (at least 10 visits a month), according to Simmons national consumer survey data, while  Dunkin’ Donuts brings in 16.4 million, of whom 1.3 million are high-frequency customers.

Despite their distinct brands and geographic footprints—Dunkin’ Donuts has a Northeastern stronghold, versus the Pacific Coast for Starbucks—the two companies have much in common, including about a third of their customer base. Both are strongest in major metro areas, among customers with college degrees and with household incomes of $100,000 or more. Overall, both have consumer bases that are significantly more likely than U.S. adults on average to be calorie-conscious, and to work at eating a well-balanced diet.

This calorie-consciousness may put wind in the sales of cold brew as a black coffee option, or at least as a sugar-free coffee and milk drink, according to Packaged Facts research director David Sprinkle, and may help Dunkin’ Donuts rack up some of Starbucks’ strength among younger adults. “Dunkin’ Donuts chocolate-reminiscent but calorie-free cold brew should appeal disproportionately to health-conscious consumers, especially as a high-frequency drink,” according to Sprinkle. “Younger consumers are also disproportionately drawn to bolder flavors, and nothing is bolder than black coffee.”

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Global Processed Snacks Market Forecast

technavioThe global processed snacks market is expected to grow significantly by 2020.

A new report from Trchnavio has revealed that the global processed snacks market is expected to encounter significant growth over the next four years. In fact, the market study from Technavio indicates that the global processed snacks market will grow at a CAGR of nearly 5% during the forecast period.

This research report titled ‘Global Processed Snacks Market 2016-2020’ provides an in-depth analysis of the market in terms of revenue and emerging market trends. This market research report also includes an up to date analysis and forecasts for various market segments and all geographical regions.

The report categorizes the global processed snacks market into three major types. They are:

  • Extruded snacks
  • Tortilla chips/corn chips
  • Pork scratchings

Global Processed Snacks Market by Extruded Snacks
The global processed snacks market by extruded snacks is expected to exceed $37 billion by 2020. The market will show moderate growth during the forecast period. “The main attributes significantly driving the market are growing demand for healthy snacks and rapidly changing consumer habits,” said Arushi Thakur, an industry expert for food research at Technavio.

Also, the growing demand from emerging economies such as APAC is expected to fuel the global extruded snacks market during the forecast period. Extruded snacks are available in different size, shapes and colors. Their appearance and packaging are the key differentiators for consumers. Use of a wide range of ingredients in the production of extruded snacks has been driving the sales growth. The various ingredients used for extruded snacks include corn, wheat, rice, potato, tapioca and oats.

In addition, growing demand for healthier snacks is influencing manufacturers to launch healthy extruded snacks as consumers are expecting snack products that are low in fat and salt. Modern extruded snacks have no artificial preservatives, zero trans fats, low sodium and do not contain MSG. Various new technologies such as twin screw extrusion technology have emerged in the market to help improve the operational efficiency of vendors.

Global Processed Snacks Market by Tortilla Chips/Corn Chips
The global processed snacks market is expected to exceed $15 billion by 2020, growing at a CAGR of over 5%. The global processed snacks market by tortilla chips/corn chips is expected to grow at a steady pace during the forecast period. Increasing per capita consumption in developed regions like the Americas and Europe is a major growth driver for this product segment. Changing taste preferences have also affected the increasing sales of tortilla chips/corn chips. Interesting flavors, new shapes and health ingredients are making tortilla chips a popular snack among U.S. consumers. Tortilla chips have become a common snack due to the growing Hispanic population in the U.S. In 2014, tortilla chips accounted for 13% of sales of the salty snacks market.

The variance of taste preferences from various regions has forced the global marketers to introduce region-specific flavored chips. Frito-Lay launched its tortilla chips under the brands Doritos and Tostitos.

Global Processed Snacks Market by Pork Scratchings
The global processed snacks market by pork scratchings is expected to grow at a CAGR of over 5%. The global processed snacks market by pork scratchings will grow at a steady pace during the forecast period. Pork scratchings are considered to be a pub snack that is consumed with drinks.

“The global meat snacks market is likely to see healthy growth during the forecast period. The increasing demand from MEA for meat snacks is driving the sales growth,” said Arushi. The Americas have the largest market for meat snacks. However, in 2014, it grew by only 15% whereas the MEA market for meat snacks grew by 25% in the same year.

The top vendors highlighted by Technavio’s research analysts in this report are:

  • Calbee Foods
  • Intersnack Group
  • Kellogg
  • PepsiCo

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The post Global Processed Snacks Market Forecast appeared first on Convenience Store Decisions.

Global Processed Snacks Market Forecast

technavioThe global processed snacks market is expected to grow significantly by 2020.

A new report from Trchnavio has revealed that the global processed snacks market is expected to encounter significant growth over the next four years. In fact, the market study from Technavio indicates that the global processed snacks market will grow at a CAGR of nearly 5% during the forecast period.

This research report titled ‘Global Processed Snacks Market 2016-2020’ provides an in-depth analysis of the market in terms of revenue and emerging market trends. This market research report also includes an up to date analysis and forecasts for various market segments and all geographical regions.

The report categorizes the global processed snacks market into three major types. They are:

  • Extruded snacks
  • Tortilla chips/corn chips
  • Pork scratchings

Global Processed Snacks Market by Extruded Snacks
The global processed snacks market by extruded snacks is expected to exceed $37 billion by 2020. The market will show moderate growth during the forecast period. “The main attributes significantly driving the market are growing demand for healthy snacks and rapidly changing consumer habits,” said Arushi Thakur, an industry expert for food research at Technavio.

Also, the growing demand from emerging economies such as APAC is expected to fuel the global extruded snacks market during the forecast period. Extruded snacks are available in different size, shapes and colors. Their appearance and packaging are the key differentiators for consumers. Use of a wide range of ingredients in the production of extruded snacks has been driving the sales growth. The various ingredients used for extruded snacks include corn, wheat, rice, potato, tapioca and oats.

In addition, growing demand for healthier snacks is influencing manufacturers to launch healthy extruded snacks as consumers are expecting snack products that are low in fat and salt. Modern extruded snacks have no artificial preservatives, zero trans fats, low sodium and do not contain MSG. Various new technologies such as twin screw extrusion technology have emerged in the market to help improve the operational efficiency of vendors.

Global Processed Snacks Market by Tortilla Chips/Corn Chips
The global processed snacks market is expected to exceed $15 billion by 2020, growing at a CAGR of over 5%. The global processed snacks market by tortilla chips/corn chips is expected to grow at a steady pace during the forecast period. Increasing per capita consumption in developed regions like the Americas and Europe is a major growth driver for this product segment. Changing taste preferences have also affected the increasing sales of tortilla chips/corn chips. Interesting flavors, new shapes and health ingredients are making tortilla chips a popular snack among U.S. consumers. Tortilla chips have become a common snack due to the growing Hispanic population in the U.S. In 2014, tortilla chips accounted for 13% of sales of the salty snacks market.

The variance of taste preferences from various regions has forced the global marketers to introduce region-specific flavored chips. Frito-Lay launched its tortilla chips under the brands Doritos and Tostitos.

Global Processed Snacks Market by Pork Scratchings
The global processed snacks market by pork scratchings is expected to grow at a CAGR of over 5%. The global processed snacks market by pork scratchings will grow at a steady pace during the forecast period. Pork scratchings are considered to be a pub snack that is consumed with drinks.

“The global meat snacks market is likely to see healthy growth during the forecast period. The increasing demand from MEA for meat snacks is driving the sales growth,” said Arushi. The Americas have the largest market for meat snacks. However, in 2014, it grew by only 15% whereas the MEA market for meat snacks grew by 25% in the same year.

The top vendors highlighted by Technavio’s research analysts in this report are:

  • Calbee Foods
  • Intersnack Group
  • Kellogg
  • PepsiCo

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Convenience Stores Poised for Growth

wellsfargoThe current macro environment has created favorable conditions for convenience store sales growth.

Wells Fargo Securities has predicted that growth in the convenience store market will be greater than initially expected, due to solid fuel margins and the favorable macro environment that is benefitting in-store sales. The long-term outlook for the industry remains positive.

In the company’s recent report, Wells Fargo Securities reiterated its Overweight sector rating on the c-store industry and revised its estimates.

  • CST BrandsWells Fargo Securities has raised earnings per share estimates for quarter two, fiscal year 2016 and fiscal year 2017 by two cents, four cents and five cents, respectively, to 43 cents, $1.70, and $1.90. Wells Fargo also increased its valuation range by $8 to $49 – $51.
  • Murphy USAWells Fargo has raised its valuation range $11 to $84 – $86, and the earnings per share estimates for quarter two, fiscal year 2016 and fiscal year 2017 by three cents, 11 cents and 11 cents to $1.05, $4.57 and $5.28, respectively.
  • Casey’s General Stores Inc. – Wells Fargo has raised its valuation range $10 to $124 – $126. It has also raised its earnings per share estimates for quarter one 2017, fiscal year 2017 and fiscal year 2018 by eight cents to $1.64, $5.50 and $6.34.
  • Wells Fargo also reiterated its Outperform on CST Brands and Murphy USA.

A Deal is Likely to be Reached for the Sale of CST Brands
According to the report from Wells Fargo Securities, CST Brands has outperformed the market over the last several months, based on the announcement that the board had initiated a strategic review process in early March. Wells Fargo expects the strategic review process to result in a sale of the company.

“We believe there is a high probability that a deal gets done, and our analysis suggests an acquisition for $53-$56 per share could be justified by a number of strategic buyers given the implied multiple including synergies would be greater than 10 times the last twelve months (LTM) EV/EBITDA,” said Bonnie Herzog, managing director of beverage, tobacco and convenience store research, Wells Fargo Securities LLC. “Further, our detailed sum-of-the-parts analysis suggests a valuation of $54 per share for CST’s assets, excluding any intangibles or non-operational assets acquired, further supporting our take-out analysis. While we acknowledge there is a risk of a deal not getting done, we believe downside risk to the stock would be to $38 per share in that scenario. Therefore, on a risk-adjusted probability basis, we see further upside potential to the stock, particularly for long-term shareholders willing to weather near-term pressure should a deal not be reached.”

Murphy USA – Well Positioned To Outperform – Favorable Risk-Reward Ahead Of Q2 Results –

Given the company’s low 2.5 cents per gallon (CGP) fuel margin breakeven point and its Product Supply & Wholesale (PS&W) division, Murphy USA is well positioned to thrive with lower fuel margins. Wells Fargo reported that Murphy USA’s PS&W helps offset the reduction in profits associated with lower retail fuel margins.

“With RIN (renewable identification number) prices still strong, we believe MUSA is well positioned to deliver on its earnings growth targets and the market is not giving it credit for: (1) the benefit from successful raze and rebuilds, new supercoolers and remodels; (2) back-half weighted new store openings; and (3) ongoing store OpEx reductions,” Herzog concluded.

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Does Digital Maturity Boost Employee Retention?

tech dataA number of employees at companies that lack digital maturity have plans to leave their organizations. 

A new study from MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte Digital has revealed that companies that re not keeping pace with digital advancements are at risk of losing their employees. In fact, the recently released study revealed that more than half of the employees surveyed at less digitally developed companies stated that they are prepared to leave their organizations in less than three years.

The fifth annual Digital Business Study also found that approximately one third of senior vice presidents, vice presidents and director-level leaders surveyed who do not have adequate access to resources and opportunities to develop and thrive in a digital environment expect to depart their company in less than one year.

The study, “Aligning the Organization for Its Digital Future,” examines the digital transformation habits of “digitally maturing” companies and what sets them apart from “digitally early stage” companies. Among the key findings of this year’s study is the significant number of employees and executives who are prepared to leave companies that are falling behind in their digital transformations.

Based on a global survey of more than 3,700 business executives, managers and analysts from organizations around the world, the study also found that digitally maturing organizations place a decisive emphasis on recruiting and developing their workforces:

  • More than 75% of these organizations provide their employees with resources and opportunities to develop their digital acumen compared to only 14% of digitally early stage companies.
  • In addition, 71% of digitally maturing companies surveyed are able to attract new talent based on their use of digital technologies, while only 10% of their early stage peers can.

“Evolving to compete in an increasingly digital world, as well as retaining top talent, is about more than implementing additional and better technologies,” said Deloitte Digital’s Doug Palmer, co-author of the report and principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP. “The report found that digitally maturing companies have organizational cultures that share common features, including an expanded appetite for risk, rapid experimentation, heavy investment in talent and recruiting, and the development of leaders who excel at soft skills.”

In fact, only 18% of respondents listed technological skills as most important. The skills needed to lead companies in the digital era, according to the survey respondents, include having a transformative vision (22%), being a forward thinker (20%), having a change-oriented mindset (18%) or other leadership and collaborative skills (22%).

Additional analysis of this year’s study found three distinct cultural mindsets that relate closely to corporate stages of digital maturity. Some characteristics include:

  • Low appetite for risk – This mindset is common among early stage digital organizations. In addition to being risk adverse, early stage companies tend to have a hierarchical leadership structure, conduct work in silos and make decisions based more on instinct rather than hard data.
  • Experimentation and speed – Conversely, digitally maturing companies value experimentation and speed, embrace risk and create distributed leadership structures.
  • Collaboration – Digitally maturing companies also foster collaboration and are more likely to use data in decision making.

Nearly 80% of respondents surveyed from digitally maturing entities indicate their companies are actively engaged in initiatives that bolster risk taking, agility and collaboration. For early stage companies, the number falls to 23%.

“What this tells us is that developing a digital culture may require significant shifts in corporate behavior,” said Gerald (Jerry) Kane, guest editor at MIT Sloan Management Review and associate professor of information systems at the Carroll School of Management, Boston College and co-author of the report. “To navigate the complexity of digital business, executives should consider aligning their organizations’ cultures, people, structures and tasks to advance their companies’ digital congruence strategies.”

“Many companies are responding to an increasingly digital market environment by adding roles with a digital focus, or changing traditional roles so that they have a digital orientation. The list of ‘digital’ business roles and functions is extensive and growing,” said David Kiron, executive editor at MIT Sloan Management Review. “What stands out, and what our research shows, is that nearly 90% of digitally maturing organizations are integrating their digital strategies with their companies’ overall strategies.”

The MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte Digital business study is based on findings from the fifth annual global survey of more than 3,700 business executives, managers and analysts from organizations around the world. The survey, conducted in the fall of 2015, captured insights from individuals in 131 countries across 27 industries, including organizations of various sizes. Digital maturity was measured by asking respondents to “imagine an ideal organization transformed by digital technologies and capabilities that improve processes, engage talent across the organization and drive new value-generating business models.” Respondents then rated their company against that ideal on a scale of 1 to 10. Three maturity groups were observed, “early” (1-3), “developing” (4-6) and “maturing” (7-10).

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Love’s Opens Three New Travel Stops

loveslogoLove’s has expanded its presence in Missouri and Texas with the opening of its three newest stores.

On July 28, 2016, Love’s Travel Stops opened the doors to three new store locations, one of which is in Texas, and two are in Missouri.

The new Love’s in Quanah, Texas is located along U.S. Highway 287 and Airport Road.

Love’s has now expanded its presence in Missouri with new stores in Bridgeton on State Highway 370, Exit 9, and in Harrisonville along Interstate 49, Exit 158.

“We have three great new locations along busy interstates and highways that provide services and 234 truck-parking spaces where drivers need them,” said Greg Love, co-CEO of Love’s. “We are committed to listening to our customers and fulfilling their needs by providing more locations with fresh food options, clean facilities, additional truck-parking spaces and more.”

The Bridgeton, Mo. Love’s includes the first Wendy’s location in the St. Louis area to offer breakfast. Customers can try items like the Mornin Melt Panini, Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit, Artisan Egg Sandwich and Fresh-Baked Oatmeal Bar. The Bridgeton, Mo. Love’s also offers 94 truck-parking spaces, a Love’s Truck Tire Care center and a Subway restaurant. A 411-unit Love’s Self Storage facility will open adjacent to the travel stop this fall.

The Quanah, Texas location includes Chester’s Chicken and Godfather’s Pizza restaurants and 52 truck-parking spaces. The Harrisonville, Mo. store includes McDonald’s and Subway restaurants, a Love’s Truck Tire Care center, as well as 88 truck-parking spaces. All Love’s Travel Stops feature showers, RFID cardless fueling and CAT scales. Drivers can also enjoy gourmet coffee, fresh fruit, gift items and name-brand electronics.

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