NACS survey: Convenience store food sales grows; retailers optimistic on business prospects for the remainder of 2017

ALEXANDRIA, Va., 2017-Oct-12 — /EPR Retail News/ — Convenience store retailers say that in-store sales have performed strong so far this year, and they are optimistic about their business prospects for the remainder of 2017, largely because of the growth in food sales, according to a survey of U.S. retailers released today by the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS).

Three in five convenience store retailers (60%) say that in-store sales in the first nine months of 2017 were higher than the same period last year, compared to 20% who say sales thus far were lower. And one in three (35%) say that motor fuels sales were higher compared to the first nine months, compared to 27% who say sales were lower.

Three in four retailers (75%) say they are optimistic about how their business will perform leading into the fourth quarter. While retailers attributed several reasons for both strong sales and optimism, an increased emphasis on fresh food sales was most often cited. Pride C-Stores Inc. (Columbia City, IN) is placing a greater emphasis on prepared foods, Kwik Trip (La Crosse, WI) continues to grow its hot foods program, and Cameron Park Petroleum (Folsom, CA) is experiencing strong sales with its fresh sandwich program.

A robust foodservice program is just part of the overall reimaging program at Landhope Corp. (Kennett Square, PA). As part of its remodeling process, the stores have provided more fueling locations for customers, improved aesthetics with enhanced lighting both inside and outside the store and an expanded foodservice program that has been well-received by customers, noted Dennis McCartney, the company’s director of operations.

Greater consumer confidence also has helped grow store sales, according to the retailers NACS surveyed. Both the economy and consumer confidence was cited as an important factor growing sales at Gate Petroleum Co. (Jacksonville, FL) and Gore’s 66 (Tuttle, OK).

In fact, the survey found that most convenience store retailers are equally optimistic about the overall economy. More than three in four (76%) say that they are optimistic about the economy in the fourth quarter, a significant increase from this time a year ago when only 53% of retailers were optimistic about the economy. Additionally, 73% of retailers say they are optimistic about the convenience store industry’s prospects leading into 2018.

“We are becoming well known for awesome food, clean facilities and great customer service,” said Don Burd with Otter Creek Country Stores Inc., summing up both his company’s and the industry’s prospects.

Despite the overall optimism, retailers did express some concerns, citing high insurance costs, a shrinking labor pool and increased competition from retail disruptors like Amazon, noted Michael Lanman with Lanman Oil Co. (Charleston, IL).

Most survey respondents (60%) also say that they will be attending next week’s NACS Show, October 17-20 at McCormick Place in Chicago. Retailers cited finding new ideas and networking as the prime reasons for attending the NACS Show, which annually draws more than 22,000 attendees. Specifically, retailers say they are looking forward to finding new foodservice equipment, hear ideas from their peers that will help drive operational efficiencies and explore new trends that could enhance their businesses.

“I’m going so that I can network and learn from those who are trying to improve their businesses. Remember the law of serendipity: Lady Luck favors those who try,” said Lonnie McQuirter with 36 Lyn Refuel Station (Minneapolis, MN).

The quarterly NACS Retailer Sentiment Survey tracks retailer sentiment related to their businesses, the industry and the economy. A total of 90 member companies, representing a cumulative 1,778 stores, participated in the October 2017 survey.


NACS advances the role of convenience stores as positive economic, social and philanthropic contributors to the communities they serve. The U.S. convenience store industry, with more than 154,000 stores nationwide selling fuel, food and merchandise, serves 160 million customers daily—half of the U.S. population—and has sales that are 10.8% of total U.S. retail and foodservice sales. NACS has 2,100 retailer and 1,750 supplier members from more than 50 countries.


For media interviews/comments contact Jeff Lenard.

BRC: total Food sales increased 1.6% on three-month basis, its best level since November 2013 excluding Easter distortions

LONDON, 2016-Oct-11 — /EPR Retail News/ — HELEN DICKINSON OBE, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, BRITISH RETAIL CONSORTIUM: “Today’s figures show a return to sales growth, primarily driven by stronger food sales which saw their highest increase since November 2013. On the flipside, sales growth of non-food items remained sluggish. Despite a flurry of back- to- school purchases, clothing sales in particular had a more challenging month.

“September saw the consumer confidence index restored to levels seen before the EU referendum in June which did translate into a willingness to spend on bigger ticket items. However, the monthly out turn continues to highlight ongoing volatility in retail spending and to reflect longer- term economic headwinds as retailers begin to seek to mitigate the impact of higher import costs due to the fall in the value of the pound.

“Against the current backdrop of intense competition and transformational change in the industry, it’s crucial that retailers are able to continue their excellent track record of keeping prices low for their customers and offering great choice and value. With that in mind the BRC will be ensuring that in the forthcoming Brexit talks, Government negotiators have their sights set firmly lowering import costs as well as avoiding any increase in tariff costs as the UK leaves the EU.”

PAUL MARTIN, NEWLY APPOINTED HEAD OF RETAIL, KPMG: “After a fairly disappointing August, the ‘back to school’ rush resulted in a much needed uplift for retailers in September with total sales up 1.3 per cent in the month.

“The shoe was truly on the right foot for children’s footwear, with the category leading the way in the month. No doubt timely in-store promotions helped to capture the attention of shoppers, whilst the August bank holiday that fell into this month’s figures also helped to boost sales. Sadly this success wasn’t mirrored for women’s clothes and footwear, with consumers seemingly uninspired by autumn collections due to warmer weather in September.

“Elsewhere, it was yet another month of positive growth for the grocers. Late summer temperatures combined with shoppers continuing to benefit from the ongoing price war has meant food and drink sales have been in the black for a full quarter – undoubtedly welcome news for the sector.
“As we move into the all-important golden quarter at the end of the year, retailers will be looking to make the run up to Christmas, including Black Friday, a success.”

FOOD & DRINK SECTOR PERFORMANCE, JOANNE DENNEY-FINCH, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, IGD: “In encouraging news for food and grocery companies, the growth seen through the summer months continued into September. Shoppers are feeling generally upbeat, with three-quarters (76 per cent) expecting their personal financial situation either to improve or stay the same in the coming year, up from 69 per cent in August”

“Although the sales growth remains modest, grocery retailers and manufacturers have reason to feel optimistic as Halloween, Bonfire Night and Christmas come on to the horizon.”

Media Contact:

BRC Press Office
TELEPHONE: + 44 (0) 20 7854 8924
OUT OF HOURS: +44 (0) 7557 747 269

Source: BRC