U.S. - Convenience Store News - special report the tobacco category..

July 24, 2009 - In this special report featuring exclusive interviews with retailers and executives from Altria Group -- the industry's largest tobacco supplier -- Convenience Store News analyzes how recent tobacco supplier consolidation will affect retailers' sets; the current challenges facing the tobacco category in convenience stores; what these hurdles mean to the future of the tobacco category; and whether or not the demise of tobacco has been pronounced prematurely.

For all the challenges tobacco faces -- regulation, taxes, reduced consumer spending and more -- its largest segment, cigarettes, remains the No. 1 category in c-stores, with more than 30 percent of in-store sales in 2008. Other tobacco products (OTP) meanwhile, is the fastest growing segment in c-stores outside of the foodservice category.

Centers for Disease Control's estimate of 45.3 million smokers present in the U.S. -- where c-stores hold 63 percent of the tobacco market -- the influence of this category is difficult to ignore.

Blazing a New Tobacco Road by Mehgan Belanger, Convenience Store News (csnews), 7/13/2009.

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