CHICAGO -- Some of general merchandise’s biggest growth prospects have an unconventional flavor. Here are two upstarts and a reliable stalwart to cultivate for this diverse profit center.
1. A second shot at success.
C-store sales of energy shots have slumped over the past few years: IRI shows dollar and unit sales off nearly 6% for 2017. But an influx of natural, organic and nutritional new products with clean labels boasting non-GMO, superfruits and similar ingredients promise to redefine the category and attract new consumers in 2018.
2017 Energy-Shot Sales
2. Turn quitters into winners.
The modest smoking-cessation category, which racked up just shy of $15 million in c-store sales in 2017, according to IRI, may have a big chance to expand in 2018 thanks to product innovation. Case in point: new convenience-sized packs of nicotine-replacement gum, which offer lower price points for the value-focused c-store consumer.
3. Reliable automotive.
C-store sales of automobile fluids hit $556.3 million in 2017, placing this subcategory among the 50 largest, IRI data shows. Consumers consider c-stores a viable stop for their vehicle needs, but retailers can help the set stand out. For example, Murphy USA kiosk sites feature stand-alone “automotive center” merchandisers that promote new and core products.