Government gridlock, consumer frugality temper retailers’ 2014 expectations in latest Outlook Survey.
“This year, we need to add room for craft beer, cut down on our CSDs, eliminate duplication of juice brands, expand on energy and work a flex area into our sets,” he says.
While 7-Eleven franchisee Keane sees the packaged-beverage category expanding its consumer base, he also fears new regulations on energy drinks will stymie future growth. “I’m concerned about regulations over health concerns about the product,” he says. “All of this doesn’t sit well for the future. I’m not necessarily bullish the category will continue to see the growth it’s had over the last five years.”
More than 41% of Outlook Survey participants growing their beverage section will work in more beer. At Outback Run Thru, Mathias sees opportunity for even greater growth in craft beers, and she plans on adding more SKUs and improving visibility with the next reset. It’s a category that has proven surprisingly recession-resistant.
“People will still spend money, no matter how tight it gets,” she says. “They will spend money on alcohol when they are happy and not so happy.”