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Category Mix in C-stores has been Changing

Tobacco used to be the number one footfall driver in most of the convenience stores, especially CTNs and standalone rural shops that provided communities with almost everything they needed to run their daily lives. Since the covering up of tobacco gantries in April 2016, and especially following the introduction of minimum pack sizes for Cigarettes and RYO Tobacco in May 2017, tobacco footfall has fallen significantly because smokers do not need to come in as often as they used to in order to get their smoking supplies.
Despite the sharp fall in tobacco footfall (-36% YOY 2016/18), independent convenience stores may be starting to see light at the end of the tunnel. What is the source of the light? What are the traditional / new categories that are taking the place of tobacco as footfall and revenue drivers? What should independent c-stores be selling more of to grow footfall and revenue?

We have reviewed footfall (basket count) and value sales of 63 product categories sold by most of our stores. Photographic Services, Vaping and Alcoholic Ready-to-Drink Pre-mixes are the top three fastest growing categories, but Greeting Cards, Arts and Crafts and Cakes surprised us by being in the top ten as well. Some categories, such as Flowers, Fresh Fruit & Veg, and Electronics Goods had little impact on footfall, but their sales are in double digit growth, contributing to stores’ profitability.

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