NACS, the trade association that represents the convenience and fuel retailing industry in the US, has released its quarterly NACS Retailer Sentiment Survey.
The results from the survey indicated that c-store retailers reported increased sales in 2019, leading to optimism among retailers for Q1 2020.
Convenience retailers reported a sales increase in 2019, according to US convenience store owners surveyed by NACS. In total 68 member companies, representing 2,896 stores, participated in the December 2019 survey.
According to the survey, 74% of retailers reported increased in-store sales in 2019, compared to 7% that reported a sales slump. A majority of retailers reported an increase in fuel gallons sold (62%), compared to 25% that reported a decrease in fuel sales.
Better-for-you items, including include fruit, vegetables, nuts, health bars and yogurt strongly contributed to in-store sales growth, according to 67% of the retailers that participated in the surveyed.
“The convenience retailing industry is committed to providing better-for-you choices in stores and the numbers show that consumers are supporting this effort,” said NACS vice president of strategic industry initiatives Jeff Lenard.
A majority of retailers said that the morning segment of consumers represents the biggest opportunity for food sales growth.
The survey ranked the segments with the biggest opportunities for growth in 2020, with 45% saying breakfast, 26% saying lunch and 23% saying dinner.
Strong industry sales in 2019 drove retailer optimism to record levels, as 89% of retailers said they are optimistic about their economic prospects for the first quarter of 2020, which is four points higher than the same time last year.
Pragmatically, retailers identified areas of concern for 2020, that could affect their businesses:
- Regulations/legislation (60%)
- Labour issues (58%)
- Competition from other convenience stores (50%)
- Competition from other retail formats like drug and dollar stores (33%)
- A potential decrease in driving/increase in gas prices (30%)
“Our industry is very proactive regarding important concerns like age-restricted sales, environmental issues and safety, which are always top of mind. It’s important that legislators consider the impact to our businesses, along with public perceptions, when drafting new laws and rules,” said Kim Robello of Hawaii-based retailer Minit Stop Markets.
Convenience store industry sales are a good indicator of consumer spending, as they sell nearly 80% of the fuel purchased in the United States and conduct an estimated 165 million transactions a day.
© 2020 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Elizabeth Schroeder. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.