NEW YORK -- The volume decline in cigarette unit throughput predicted by several analysts for 2017 appears to be playing out, with a 3.5% drop in volume through the month of January. That volume decline is similar to the 3.6% pace set over the past 12 weeks, according to statistics from Wells Fargo Securities, New York. An increase in pricing of 3.6% in that same time period eased the decline in cigarette-dollar sales, but couldn’t keep sales from dipping 0.1%.
C-store channel sales in general were soft in many categories, including beer, malt beverages and cider at 1.3% growth; carbonated soft drinks falling by 1.0%; and salty snacks dropping 0.5%.
“Following a particularly soft December, results for most categories picked up slightly, but remain well below historical averages as we believe recent soft traffic trends in the c-store channel have continued into the new year,” according to Bonnie Herzog, managing director of beverages, tobacco and convenience-store research for Wells Fargo. Herzog’s data comes from New York-based Nielsen.
Here’s a more complete breakdown of tobacco sales through much of January …
Smokeless-tobacco dollar sales did better compared to the other tobacco categories, growing 2.4% over a four-week period this past January, Wells Fargo said. But it was still a slowdown for smokeless considering that over a 12-week period, sales grew 3.4%.