Energy category sales rise significantly as cigarettes experience continuing slide.
Convenience store sales in this quarter were $8 billion during the 4-week period ending March 24, 2018, an 1.1% increase over the same period last year (versus +0.2% for 12-weeks; +0.6% for 52-weeks), according to new data from Wells Fargo Securities LLC.
Bonnie Herzog, managing director of tobacco, beverage and convenience store research at Wells Fargo Securities, indicated that in some categories, channel sales figures represent a sequential and year-over-year improvement.
Cigarette sales remain soft although declines appear to be moderating. Cigarettes sales decreased 1.2% during the recent 4-week period on volumes of -4.9% (versus -5.9% for 12-weeks), partly offset by decent 3.9% increase in pricing. Industry leader Altria saw cigarettes sales decreased 2% (versus -3.3% for 12-weeks) on still soft, albeit improving, volumes reflecting a 5.6% decrease (versus -6.8% for 12-weeks) and a 3.8% pricing hike.
Comparably, smokeless tobacco sales grew 4.2% (vs +3.6% 12-weeks).
Beer-FMB-Cider sales were relatively soft, according to Wells Fargo. Sales in the 4-week period in c-stores were up 0.8% (versus -0.2% for 12-weeks; +0.4% for 52-weeks) driven by 1.5% increase in pricing, partially offset by equivalized unit volume declines of 0.7%. Anheuser-Busch sales declined 2.0% during the same 4-week period (versus -3.4% for 12-weeks).
MillerCoors $ sales decreased 2.3% (versus -3.2% for 12-weeks), while Constellation Brands (STZ) enjoyed a sales increase 13.3% (versus +13.9% for 12-weeks), driven by a 10.6% increase in equivalized volume growth and a 2.4% jump in average pricing.
“We continue to believe the c-store channel remains a significant opportunity for STZ, as retailers allocate incremental shelf space to STZ brands,” said Herzog.
Energy category sales increased 3.9% (versus +3.7% for 12-weeks; +2.9% for 52-weeks). Red Bull sales rose 1% for the period ending March 24, 2018 (versus +0.1% for 12-weeks) and Monster energy sales (ex-Mutant) increased 11.7% (versus 12.2% for 12-weeks) on +11.4% increase in equivalized unit volume (versus +11.8% for 12-weeks) and 0.3% increase in average equivalized pricing. Rockstar sales declined 6.9%.
In other beverage category sales, total carbonated soft drink sales in c-stores decreased 2.7% during the 4-week period (versus -3.8% for 12-weeks; -3.4% for 52-wks). Coke sales were down 0.3% (versus -1.5% for 12-weeks) as equivalized unit volume declines of 4.2% completely offset a 4.1% increase in average equivalized pricing. Sales at PepsiCo remained pressured, down -4.3% (versus -5.0% for 12-weeks) led by -3.9% equivalized unit volume declines.
Lastly, c-store sales of salty snacks increased 1.9% (versus 2.5% for 12-weeks) on equivalized unit pricing increase of 2.3%, offset by 0.4% equivalized unit declines. PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay $ sales rose 1.6% (versus +3.3% for 12-weeks) on average equivalized pricing growth of 0.9% and equivalized unit volume declines of +0.6%.