Cover Story: Hit the Jackpot

How to win big as cheap gas kicks up inside spending

Angel Abcede, Senior Editor/Tobacco, CSP

Melissa Vonder Haar, Freelance Writer

Erik J. Martin, CSP Correspondent

Illustrations by Mark Matcho

With gas retailing below $3 a gallon nationwide, and having dipped earlier this year below $2 in many markets, retailers are drooling over the potential to grab some of that loose change in America’s purses and pockets—up to an estimated $140 billion, according to fuel analyst OPIS.

And while numerous reports show consumer confidence inching upward, the true breadth of this economic rebound—be it ripple or surge—has yet to reveal itself. So while guardedly optimistic, most retailers are working to reap all they can from what could be a strong summer, some devising ways to capture more impulse sales. Others are focused inward, raising mounds of capital, building new and larger formats and reinventing themselves as food-first retailers.

After writing about the plunging economy in 2008, CSP editors have revisited the topic, exploring today’s resurgence and how best to ride a wave that shows consumer confidence up, unemployment down, and new home-building and general retailing rebounding.

Table of Contents

The Potential Wave and a Store’s Core Beneficiaries

Impulse, Indulgence Seize the Day

Fuel: Low Prices, Big Margins

The Gatorade Effect

A Bull Economy?

Strategies to Reap Big $