Hot Opportunities in Atlanta

Fresh prepared foods could be a game changer for savvy c-store retailers.

By
David Portalatin, Executive director, industry analyst

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The U.S. convenience-store landscape in the first half of 2013 showed healthy signs of recovery as consumer traffic increased. Generally speaking, traffic gains have come as a result of consumers relying on c-stores more frequently for a variety of purchase occasions, Including fuel, in-store merchandise and food service. Atlanta is enjoying gains in product purchase traffic that are increasing faster than the national average.

Consumers in this market are purchasing across the spectrum of thec-store offering, but when compared tothe national average, they are more likely to buy candy or gum, alcohol beverages and salty snacks. Atlanta shoppers also are buying more energy drinks and specialty coffee.

Trends are generally favorable for c-stores in Atlanta, but there are some opportunities and threats to consider. For example, Atlanta consumers are relying on c-stores for fresh prepared food at only half the rate seen nationwide. This indicates tremendous upside for the Atlanta retailer who brings to market a quality foodservice offering.

Atlanta is also not immune to the national trend of channel blurring. While traditional c-stores have a dominant, growing position in the marketplace(43%), other retail channels are capturing an increasing share of convenience oriented purchase occasions. Over the past 12 months ending June 2013, almost 13% of Atlanta c-store shoppers report making their c-store purchase at a food, drug, mass or club retailer. This growth in nontraditional convenience players seems to have come mostly at the expense of major oil branded stores (29%), which declined 5 share points in the same period. The gasoline offering is a very important driver of c-store traffic in Atlanta, so oil-branded chains have an opportunity to focus on the total retail offering to leverage the value of their fuel brand.  

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