Maximizing Confection Sales

McLane Co. tips for strategic placement and understanding trends

Suggested candy set for conveniece stores from McLane Co.

TEMPLE, Texas -- There are a lot of great reasons to focus on the confection set in your convenience stores. According to McLane Co.:

  • Fifty-three percent of candy and 39% of gum/mint purchases are made on impulse.
  • Thirty-one percent of all confection purchases are made in secondary locations.
  • Dollar sales are up 1.8%.
  • C-stores hold 23% share of the total U.S. confectionary sales. The category will soon be a $33 billion dollar business, with convenience stores accounting for $5.3 billion in sales.

With such momentum, McLane offered the following merchandising tips for confectionary in its most recent Ask a Category Manager advertorial on

Making Space

Each store has different space sizes and racking configurations under the counter, which makes optimizing the area a challenge. Finding out which items will provide the most sales and in what share

they should be represented is essential, since one in 20 shoppers buy an item at the front end (exclusive of tobacco and lottery tickets).

When studying all information regarding impulsivity and potential incremental sales, McLane recommends space allocation for under the counter/front end as shown in the above photo. Additional placement in high-traffic areas with racks, such as McLane’s Multi-Vendor Endcap (MVE), will result in incremental sales.

What's up With Gum?

There are numerous opinions on gum declines, according to McLane Co.'s category managers, ranging from high retail pricing to an abundance of innovation or the idea that it’s just not cool to chew gum anymore.

Regardless, gum still accounts for more than 80% of the total sales in the gum/mint section. Be cautious when downsizing gum SKUs and save shelf space for new flavors and varieties.

Chocolate Packaging

Chocolate accounts for approximately 41% of total confection and has grown 4.81%. This growth can be attributed to two pack types: king-size and hand-to-mouth. Hand-to-mouth has seen tremendous growth over the last year, and it now represents 5% of the total chocolate segment, McLane reported. This pack type warrants separate review and is categorized individually.

Hand-to-mouth items should be plan-o-grammed next to their king counterpart, McLane advised. This will catch the consumer’s eye and will help with brand/price promotion for the retailer.

Non-Chocolate Cravings

Non-chocolate growth continued in 2013, and it now accounts for 12% of the total confection category within McLane. Standard and king non-chocolate has grown 10% since last year. Vertical placement of these items within the inline set is important, as adults and children seek and crave non-chocolate.

Click here to see the complete Ask a Category Manager report from McLane Co.