Strategic Industry Analysis – Jump Ship or Change Course
Presented to CSP State of the Industry Executive Summit

Hyatt Regency O’Hare, Chicago, IL – May 29, 2002

Since 1998, the CSP Information Group has assembled top industry retailer and supplier executives to discuss the ramifications of State of the Industry (SOI) data compiled and analyzed by the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) and Convenience Store News. Dick Meyer, President of Meyer & Associates, has been the keynote speaker selected to help industry attendees appreciate the major highlights of the current year’s operating results and other trends, plus provide his analysis of where the Industry may be headed.

As in the past, Dick provided attendees with pre-read materials prior to the meeting. This year, his "Jump Ship or Change Course" article and Per-Store SOI comparison between 2001 and 2000’s grid (posted separately on this site) were well received. His repeating themes that "we can’t afford to be average", "we’re lousy marketers on average" and "we need to get our house in order" set the stage for healthy interaction among participants.

Utilizing these 27 slides, Mr. Meyer summarized business issues of a recurring nature along with current issues requiring special attention. Having started in the Industry in 1977, he showed per-store operating data and investment costs from a quarter century ago and compared it to results in 2001. He concluded that our (lack of) profitability growth is hardly impressive from a per-store and ROI perspective.

Acknowledging that convenience store retailers have the prime sites, are the best in selling fuel and are getting a lot better in selling their # 2 category (cigarettes), he echoed his past appeal, i.e. that we challenge ourselves to learn how to sell more (non-cigarettes) "stuff." He added other strategic planning ideas for immediate consumption, including selling off "dawgs", maximizing market concentration, utilizing actionable benchmarking as other retail segments do, etc.

Readers are encouraged to read the referenced article that Dick authored and also print out his comparison of per-store data. His challenge to all retailers is to get on board the ship that he professes must change course. The per-store average profits reported by NACS are simply inadequate.

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