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Is Your Truckstop Prepared for Halloween?

Posted in: Truckstop Business

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If you have not properly prepared for the upcoming Halloween holiday, you most likely have missed a great opportunity to grow sales and profitability.

Americans are expected to spend $2.87 billion on Halloween costumes this year according to a recent National Retail Federation (NRF) survey, spending over $1.1 billion on children’s costumes, $1.4 billion on adult costumes and $370 million on pet costumes. The average person will spend $79.82 on Halloween candy, costumes and décor, bringing total spending to $8 billion — the most in the survey’s ten-year history.

Speakers at NATSO’s International Study Tour in London last month referenced that in England, Halloween is quickly becoming one of the most popular and successful retail holidays despite the fact that it is an essentially an American holiday. In fact they noted that Halloween has recently surpassed Easter in retails sales and profitability, which is historically a powerful sales holiday in England.

I witnessed Halloween preparation in English c-stores seeing bulk stacks of Halloween themed beer and soda, dump bins full of large bags of value candy, Halloween-themed candy displays and orange and black frosted pastries and “American” donuts as the Brits refer to them. Just like us English c-stores and fuel operators are looking for ways to grow profitability and thus are embracing this holiday sales opportunity.

Most folks like handing out candy, so how about creating some promotions around this idea? Update your old and underperforming over-the-head Bluetooth device and get a free bag of candy to hand out to children. Who does not like feeding children? So get creative and drive that average ticket!

Word of caution to our members; if you have missed the Halloween holiday preparation, do not miss the remaining portion of the holiday season. “The National Retail Federation released its 2012 holiday forecast on Tuesday, which shows sales increasing 4.1% to $586.1 billion”. Go out and get some of those dollars shoppers are setting aside for the holiday season for your location! And! be sure to download our Sample Truckstop Marketing Calendar below to prepare for the entire year.

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Photo Credit: Darren Schulte/NATSO, Location: Dad's 113 Travel Center

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About the Author

Darren Schulte

Darren Schulte

Darren Schulte serves as Vice President of Membership at NATSO. In this role, he directs recruitment, retention and customer service for truckstop and travel plaza members. He is also responsible for developing NATSO products and programs, particularly those relating to education, research and training for truckstop and travel plaza operators.

Schulte also leads NATSO's Profitable Retail Review program. A Profitable Retail Review is a custom assessment of your truckstop, including recommendations for every aspect of your facility, from actionable ideas to improve revenue to tactical ways to improve your net operating costs. Learn about NATSO's Profitable Retail Review program here.

Schulte joined NATSO with nearly three decades of experience in truckstop and travel plaza operations and merchandising. Schulte has worked for: 

  • Love's Travel Stops and Country Stores,
  • HESS Corporation, 
  • Petro Stopping Centers, and
  • TSC Global/Barjan LLC.