Convenience Stores

Industry Profile Report

Dive Deep into the industry with a 25+ page industry report (pdf format) including the following chapters

Industry Overview Current Conditions, Industry Structure, How Firms Operate, Industry Trends, Credit Underwriting & Risks, and Industry Forecast.

Call Preparation Call Prep Questions, Industry Terms, and Weblinks.

Financial Insights Working Capital, Capital Financing, Business Valuation, and Financial Benchmarks.

Industry Profile Excerpts

Industry Overview

The 83,800 convenience stores in the US sell a limited selection of merchandise in high traffic locations. The majority of convenience stores in the US sell gasoline. Most convenience stores are independent operators – 92% of c-stores have a single location.

Rising Credit Card Fees 

The cost of credit/debit fees continues to grow, and can exceed the pre-tax profits for a c-store.

Reliance Upon Fuel Sales

Managing fuel sales is a critical yet risky part of c-store operations.

Industry size & Structure

A typical convenience store sells gas, operates out of 1-2 locations, employs 14-15 workers, and generates almost $7.5 million annually. A typical c-store that does not sell gas employs about 5-6 workers and generates about $1 million annually.

    • The convenience store industry consists of 83,800 companies with over 129,600 stores which generate about $457 billion annually and employ 992,000 workers.
    • Most convenience stores are independent operators - 92% of c-stores have a single location and 88% employ fewer than 10 workers.
    • The average c-store chain has about 50 individual stores.
    • Large companies include Couche-Tard, Casey's General Stores, 7 Eleven, and Speedway.
                            Industry Forecast
                            Convenience Stores Industry Growth
                            Source: Vertical IQ and Inforum

                            Recent Developments

                            Mar 16, 2023 - Candy Sales Rise
                            • Candy sales – a key category for convenience stores – are rising, buoyed by consumers’ taste for affordable treats, Convenience Store News (CSN) reported in March. Last year, confectionery category dollar sales grew 11.1% over 2021 and 22.1% over 2019, according to a new report from the National Confectioners Association (NCA). The NCA’s State of Treating report found that a majority of consumers view chocolate and candy as a fun part of life (81%) and as an affordable treat (74%), which combined with inflation reaching a 40-year high, helped to drive $42.6 billion in sales in 2022. Growth projections take the total category to $54.3 billion in 2027, according to the report. The convenience channel is closing in on grocery as the top channel to buy candy, said Anne-Marie Roerink, principal of 210 Analytics, a marketing research firm focused on food retailing.
                            • Convenience stores and gas stations are among those retail formats holding on to their pandemic gains, market intelligence firm reported in February. Foot traffic remains far ahead of pre-pandemic numbers, with January 2023 gas station and convenience store visits up 22.8% relative to January 2020. Compared to January 2022, foot traffic was up 6.8% in January of this year. Strength in the category is notable given the post-pandemic sustained shift to hybrid and remote work employment, which has cut down on commuting. Also, with public transportation ridership still below 2019 levels in many cities and many gas station leaders stepping up their food offerings, the sector is likely to continue seeing success in the year ahead, according to
                            • The White House in February announced that Tesla has promised to open up 7,500 of its charging stations by the end of 2024 to non-Tesla EV drivers, NACS reports. Until now in the US, Tesla Supercharging stations have been accessible primarily to drivers of the company’s own cars. Tesla already has a US network of more than 17,700 fast chargers at over 1,650 locations. Convenience stores, which account for 80% of the fuel sold in the US, are investing in EV charging infrastructure, including 7-Eleven, Casey’s, Circle K and Sheetz, among many others. For consumers who drive EVs, their top desired amenity while charging is Wi-Fi connectivity (64%). Restrooms (60%), coffee/beverages (56%) and snacks/light meals (48%) were the next most desired offerings, according to NACS.
                            • The number of convenience stores in the United States increased 1.5% in 2022, reversing a four-year decline, according to the 2023 NACS/NielsenIQ Convenience Industry Store Count. Texas continues to top the c-store count with 116,018 stores, or more than one in 10 stores in the United States. Despite a decline in store count, California remains second at 12,000 stores, followed by Florida (9,596), New York (7,917), Georgia (6,719), North Carolina (5,749), Ohio (5,673), Michigan (4,879), Pennsylvania (4,728) and Illinois (4,666). Alaska grew its store count by 9.2% but still has the fewest stores (190) of any state. With the US population at 334.2 million according to the US Census Bureau, there is one convenience store per every 2,225 people.
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