U.S. convenience stores reached record in-store sales in 2013, with sales climbing 2.4 percent to $204 billion. Combined with motor fuel sales of $491.5 billion, overall convenience store sales were $695.5 billion, according to figures released today by the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS).
The convenience store industry's in-store sales have seen rapid growth over the last decade, as consumers seek out more food and beverages on the go. In-store sales in 2013 were led by continued growth in foodservice (2.4 percent), driven by prepared food and commissary.
Motor fuels sales also hit new highs on a per-gallon basis, with sales climbing 0.9 percent to 132,029 gallons per store per month. While fuel sales per store increased on a unit basis, a 2.9 percent decrease in gas prices led to an overall 2.1 percent decrease in fuel sales.
Although the industry again realized strong sales, store-operating costs increased at a faster rate than sales and led to a decrease in industry pretax profits, which fell from $7.2 billion in 2012 to $7.1 billion in 2013.
The biggest increase in costs was wages and payroll taxes. The industry saw a dramatic 19.5 percent increase in employees, a function of the industry's continuing embrace of foodservice, which requires more labor to manage.
The link between fuels and convenience retailing continues to grow. Overall, 83.7 percent of convenience stores (126,658 total) sell motor fuels, a 2.7 percent increase (3,369 stores) over 2013, according to the 2014 NACS/Nielsen Convenience Industry Store Count. The U.S. convenience store count increased to 151,282 stores as of December 31, 2013, a 1.4 percent increase (2,062 stores) from the year prior.