Is Your Store Ready for Labor Day Weekend?

By Skupos

Posted Aug 27, 2020

Despite reduced travel from COVID-19, barbeques, camping trips, and shorter road trips continue to make warm holiday weekends an important incremental revenue driver for c-stores. In fact, this summer’s 4th of July holiday (Thursday-Sunday) saw a 17% YOY increase in average total revenue per convenience store.

So what does this mean for your store? Holiday weekends can be important incremental revenue drivers, if you know which items to stock and feature. Using our data, the team at Skupos created a few suggestions for our c-store community:

  • Get signage up in time: Make sure promotional signage in the forecourt is refreshed in time for peak customer traffic in order to drive more consumers in store. Labor Day 2019 saw the largest increase in fuel gallon volume starting on Thursday (10% increase compared to the previous week) and peaking on Friday (28% increase) - days before the actual Monday holiday.

  • Consider these top products when preparing inventory and promotions: Encourage larger basket sizes through promotions or package deals built with Labor Day weekend activities in mind. Hot-ticket items this past 4th of July holiday included:

    • Top Carbonated Soft Drink = Mountain Dew 20 Oz Single
    • Top Beer = Bud Light 12 Pack 12 OZ
    • Top Chips = Doritos 3.125 OZ Nacho Cheese and Ruffles 2.87 OZ Original
    • Top Coffee Beverage = Starbucks Frappuccino 13 OZ

In addition, we’ve taken a look at data from previous holiday weekends to help stores prepare for the upcoming weekend.

Stock up Early: In-Store Traffic Comes Sooner Than You’d Expect

Stock up and get your promotions ready early. Across most holiday weekends, we see store visits increase leading up to the holiday weekend, typically peaking 2 days prior to the actual holiday, with store visits decreasing by the highest percentage on the holiday itself. How early, however, can be unpredictable.

For example, let’s look at this past 4th of July weekend:

  • Peak traffic: 2 days prior to the holiday - Thursday, July 2nd saw average store visits increase by 8% compared to the previous Thursday
  • Low traffic: Actual holiday - 6% decrease in average store visits

In contrast, Memorial Day weekend 2020 saw the following:

  • Peak traffic: 1 day prior to holiday - Sunday, May 24th saw average store visits increase by 11% compared to the previous Sunday (vs. 4% on Friday)
  • Low traffic: Actual holiday - 6% decrease in average store visits

Stock Extra and Prepare for Large Basket Sizes

Even though in-store visits decreased as the holiday weekend progressed, we see basket sizes increase, which could indicate that consumers are stocking up versus grabbing items for immediate consumption.

This past 4th of July weekend, market basket sizes increased across the board, with the largest increases being seen on Thursday and Saturday (the holiday) at around ~2%. We saw a similar trend this past Memorial Day weekend, with the largest basket size increase occurring on Monday (the holiday).

Stock Up and Run Promotions on Bulk Packages

Holiday weekends are also a time for stocking up with many Americans planning to barbeque or host gatherings. In 2019, Labor Day weekend saw huge increases in bulk purchases, with the average quantity sold of both 7-12 and 13+ packs of packaged beverages and beer each increasing by 60% per store over the course of the weekend. Make sure you have enough in stock, and promote to set your store apart!

And while this past 4th of July showed slightly lower increases, Memorial Day 2020 followed a similar pattern, with 7-12 packs increasing 23% for packaged bev and 26% for beer, and 13+ packs increasing 18% for packaged bev and 21% for beer.