This past June and July, the U.S. experienced days of record-breaking temperatures; while Mother Nature turned up the heat, inner-city stores followed suit, enjoying a 10% sales increase compared to 2019.
National Retail Solutions (NRS) operates one of the largest and fastest growing point-of-sale networks for independent retailers and bodega owners nationwide. Since the beginning of COVID-19, NRS has been monitoring the sales growth through its network of over 8,500 inner-city bodegas and corner stores with the help of its point-of-sale (POS) terminal-based platform.
While this system might strike the average shopper and store employee as a cash register with an advertisement-facing display, it goes above and beyond to provide a robust portfolio of tools to help these retailers compete more effectively in the marketplace. More importantly, NRS has the ability to gather sales data quickly and efficiently from each POS to assist both small business owners and the big name brands carried within these stores.
What products are behind the increase in sales these past two months? The data gathered by NRS points to several categories soaring far beyond this growth statistic. According to NRS Senior Vice President of Data Strategy and Sales Suzy Silliman, adult beverages continue to crush prior year sales numbers, with liquor and wine both experiencing nearly a 50% increase in dollar sales in June and July 2020 compared to last year.
“Non-alcoholic beverages are trending 12% above a year ago, led by sports and energy drinks which are up by an impressive 32%,” she said. “The only non-alcoholic beverage segment not enjoying growth is bottled water, which saw a slight decline of 2%.”
Ice cream and novelties make up two other categories which typically enjoy seasonal sales spikes within this timeframe. While they increased as expected, ice cream had a 24% increase compared to June and July months in 2019, while novelties remained flat versus a year ago.
The most surprising statistic NRS was able to pull came from candy sales. July is typically a slow month, but it posted higher numbers than last December or February of this year — traditionally strong months due to the holiday season and Valentine’s Day.
“Even chocolate sales, which in summer months take a seasonal slump, showed an 11% gain over June and July 2019 in stores that on average were stocking 25% fewer chocolate items on their shelf than in winter months,” Silliman said.
Why go through all of this trouble to gather sales data? Inner-city mom and pop stores, bodegas and international markets have previously gone unmeasured, and therefore went largely underdeveloped by consumer brands.
NRS believes with the urban population staying and shopping closer to home during this “new normal” period, inner-city bodegas and corner stores have sales potential like never before. Look for more insights from NRS as it becomes the leader in providing unique services to consumer goods marketers in this space through data, advertising, and state-of-the-art technology.
A subsidiary of the telecom IDT Corporation, NRS was created to leverage relationships with both customers and merchants. It serves independent retailers nationwide with its state-of-the-art point-of-sale (POS) terminal-based platform. This system contains an array of features that help these retailers compete more effectively in the marketplace. Additionally, this POS technology records valuable insight and data so both brands and independent merchants can better understand shoppers and implement strategies to increase sales.