CHICAGO -- The cold vault is part of the convenience-store industry's immediate-consumption trump card. Packaged beverages were the third largest in-store category, with 15.8% share of sales and more than one-fifth of gross-profit dollars in 2017.
“It’s called the vault because that’s where all the money is,” said Alan Beach, senior vice president of merchandising for Irving, Texas-based 7-Eleven Inc., presenting at the 2018 NACS State of the Industry Summit.
That said, the sales trend for packaged beverages has been flat, with sales and gross-profit dollars up only 0.4% in 2017, according to preliminary NACS figures. Nielsen data shows units off 2.3% in 2017—the first such decline “in a long time,” Beach said. Alternative beverages, iced tea and enhanced water drove category growth, while carbonated soft drinks, bottled water and sports drinks lost ground.
“It deserves more attention,” Beach said. “True innovation in the beverage business and improved product-assortment management can dramatically improve these numbers.”
Subcategory Sales Breakdown
Overall, c-store unit sales of packaged beverages fell 2.3% in 2017, although alternative beverages, RTD tea and enhanced water bucked the trend, according to Nielsen.
Source: The Nielsen Co. | ** Percent change from a year ago