C-Store Beverage Sales Dip During Labor Day Holiday

Wells Fargo survey shows factors weighing in on beverage results.

Beverage sales at convenience stores were down 1.5% during Labor Day, according to Wells Fargo Securities’ recent survey of beverage retailers representing approximately 15,000 U.S. convenience stores for the recent Labor Day holiday, which concluded the peak summer selling season.

Wells Fargo outlines the following key takeaways:

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(1) Total beverage sales in c-stores were down -1.5% for Labor Day 2017 vs. +4.1% last year;

(2) Several factors weighed on results including: out-of-stocks, weather, and the spike in retail gas prices associated with Hurricane Harvey;

(3) Ready to drink coffee, premium waters and import beer categories all performed very well despite industry headwinds;

(4) Retailers reported the energy category in c-stores remains pressured, with sales expected to grow only approximately 4% for the category and Monster/Red Bull this year;

(5) Retailers on average are projecting 14% growth in Constellation Brands Inc. (STZ) beer for 2017, suggesting trends remain strong in the c-store channel for STZ, with most retailers planning to give STZ more shelf space and increased focus.

(6) Numerous industry headwinds are weighing on beverage sales, but strong brands continue to perform well.