Murphy USA Sees Carton Sales Rise Amid COVID-19 Crisis

Rewards program, proximity to Walmarts help in-store sales during pandemic, officials say
Photograph: Shutterstock

EL DORADO, Ark. — Sales of cigarette cartons increased during the onset of the coronavirus pandemic at Murphy USA convenience stores, officials said.

During an April 17 earnings call, Andrew Clyde, president, CEO and director of Murphy USA, said in-store business picked up primarily due to the chain's proximity to Walmart stores; the chain’s value-price position and rewards program; its wholesaler partner, Core-Mark; and its ability to keep up inventory of stores’ highest-selling items.

As a result, performance in categories such as cigarettes have remained positive throughout, with the company seeing shifts in carton buyers going from 48% to 58% of purchases. Because some competitors do not even offer cartons, the trend has led to notable share gains, Clyde said.

Through the first two weeks of April, total merchandise sales were up 8.3%, with tobacco up 13.3% and nontobacco down 4.3%. Beer and alcohol sales were up 9.1% and general merchandise was up 6.5%, in part due to rising demand for hand sanitizer, he said.

  • Murphy USA is No. 7 on the Top 40 update to CSP’s 2019 Top 202 ranking of U.S. c-store chains by number of retail outlets. CSP will release the complete 2020 list in June.

El Dorado, Ark.-based Murphy USA has approximately 1,490 locations in 26 states.

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