C-Stores Threatened by Swipe Fees, Contraband Tobacco

Canadian Convenience Stores Association urges members to band together to try to bring about industry change.

ONTARIO – According to the recently released annual report from the Canadian Convenience Stores Association (CCSA), high credit card transaction fees, contraband tobacco, and regulation abuse are having a severe impact on Canada’s convenience store industry, forcing 350 to close last year, LFPress.com reports.

Last year, sales at Canadian c-stores without gas stations totaled $11.2 billion, relatively flat from the year prior, with those selling gas reporting an increase of 9.2 percent to $22.6 billion.

According to the CCSA, the Canadian government is failing to lend assistance and failing to address industry problems.

“If we want to retain the local family business model and maintain an essential channel to reach Canadian consumers, governments must do more and better to improve our business conditions,” said CCSA senior vice president Michel Gadbois.

The CCSA said some progress had been made curtaining sales of contraband tobacco, but more work needs to be done. Smuggled tobacco costs the industry about $850 million a year.

Additionally, the CCSA called for the ability to sell alcohol from convenience stores.

“Our network has clearly shown it can control product sales to minors in an exemplary fashion,” the report said. “Every percentage of market share in this environment would result in $150 million in sales for convenience stores.”

The group also voiced strong concern over credit card transaction fees, noting they cost Canadian merchants $5 billion in 2009.

Finally, it urged industry members to band together to try to bring about change.

“In each federal riding there are on average 70 convenience stores,” Gadbois said. “There’s no denying we constitute a considerable political force. If we mobilize the federal and provincial governments will have no choice but to listen and act to protect the unique institution that is the convenience store.”

Attend the NACS Global Forum

Make plans today to attend the NACS Global Forum in Vancouver — where you will gain unfettered access to Canada’s evolving c-store marketplace. Participate in store tours and learn from expert speakers on issues such as channel blurring, contraband and “dark” tobacco and the future of motor fuels.

This year’s event takes place June 10 to 12 at the Fairmont Pacific Rim. Store tours feature leading Canadian retailers such as London Drugs, Urban Fare, Chevron Town Pantry, Mac’s, Tim Horton’s and more.

source: www.nacsonline.com

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