NACS survey: continued drop in gas prices could spur last-minute shopping at stores over the holiday season

ALEXANDRIA, VA, 2015-12-15 — /EPR Retail News/ — Two in three gasoline customers report that gas prices in their area are lower than they were last month, and the continued drop in prices could spur last-minute shopping at stores over the holiday season, according to the latest Consumer Fuels Survey results released by the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS).  According to the survey, 66% of gasoline consumers across the U.S. say gas prices are lower than they were 30 days ago.

More than one in four consumers (27%) say that they will increase their spending this month, an increase from the 24% who said so a year ago in December 2014. More encouraging are the spending plans of those ages 18-34; two in five (40%) Millennials say that they will increase their spending this month, an increase from 33% in December 2014. Younger consumers also will be driving more: 39% say they will be driving more this month than last month, significantly higher than the 22% of Americans overall who expect to drive more this month.

While consumers are still noticing that gas is getting cheaper, Americans remain split on their feelings towards the economy. In December 2015, 48% of Americans reported feeling “somewhat optimistic” or “very optimistic” about the economy, down slightly from the 50% who said the same in the previous month’s survey.  For the second straight month — and only the second time in three years — men are more optimistic than women, with a majority (52%) expressing optimism. Younger consumers remain the most optimistic, with three in five (60%) expressing optimism.

Nationally, consumers report a median gas price of $2.00, 20 cents lower than last month and 70 cents lower than they were in December 2014.

Looking forward, consumers continue to grow more confident that gas prices will stay low over the next month. Only one in three fuel consumers (32%) say that they expect prices to be higher in thirty days, the lowest number that have predicted increased prices since January. Consumers from the Midwest are the most apprehensive about future gasoline prices, with nearly four in ten (38%) saying that they expect prices to be higher next month.

“The rise or fall of gas prices is one of the best predictors of overall economic optimism — 71% of Americans said gas prices affect their feelings about the economy — but the link has been much weaker the past few months,” said Jeff Lenard, NACS vice president of strategic industry initiatives. “The current political climate may play a role — the last time we saw a similarly weak link was in October 2013 with the federal government shutdown.”

NACS, which represents the convenience store industry that sells 80% of the gas sold in the country, conducts the monthly consumer sentiment survey to gauge how gas prices affect broader economic trends. The NACS survey was conducted online by Penn Schoen Berland; 1,104 gas consumers nationally were surveyed December 8-11, 2015. Summary results are available at www.nacsonline.com/gasprices.

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Founded in 1961 as the National Association of Convenience Stores, NACS (nacsonline.com) is the international association for convenience and fuel retailing. The U.S. convenience store industry, with more than 152,700 stores across the country, posted $696.1 billion in total sales in 2014, of which $482.6 billion were motor fuels sales. NACS has 2,100 retail and 1,600 supplier member companies, which do business in nearly 50 countries.

SOURCE: NACS

For media interviews/comments contact Jeff Lenard

Rite Aid stores nationwide to help customers complete their last-minute shopping lists with extended shopping hours, gift options, holiday treats and home decorations

Most Rite Aid Stores Offer Extended Shopping Hours From 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Through Dec. 23

Camp Hill, Pa., 2014-12-18 — /EPR Retail News/ — Rite Aid stores nationwide are helping customers complete their last-minute shopping lists at each of its 4,600 convenient locations with great gift options, tasty holiday treats and unique home decorations. According to National Retail Federation’s 2014 Holiday Consumer Spending Survey, the average person celebrating this holiday will spend $804.42.

“Our extended hours and wide selection of gifts, toys, gift cards and holiday essentials makes Rite Aid an ideal stop for last-minute Santas,” said Tony Montini, Rite Aid executive vice president of merchandising. “Whether you’re shopping for gifts or putting the finishing touches on your tree or home.

Holiday Treats and Sweets
Searching for a sweet gift or stocking stuffer? Rite Aid has an assortment of candy and premium chocolates from Lindt, Russell Stover, Godiva and Ghirardelli. Shelves are stocked with holiday classics ranging from candy canes to chocolate covered cherries, HERSHEY’S KISSES and festive M&M’s. For the sweet tooth in the family, wrap up a 1 pound candy bar from Reese’s, Snickers or York brands. Don’t forget about the ever-popular Holiday popcorn tins. Packed with different flavors, shoppers can choose from 16 distinct designs including Coca-Cola, Disney and various holiday scenes. In addition to hot deals on Planter’s Peanut Holiday 3-packs, customers will find a special holiday blend of the popular Royal Dansk Butter Cookies, a baking center display complete with recipes for special treats and mug gift sets from Transformers, My Little Pony, Star Wars and Starbucks.

Toys Galore
Rite Aid’s very own line of toys, Kids Stuff, offers great value and an assortment of gifts for kids. For little boys, radio-controlled cars and helicopters, a mini-foosball table or drum set. For the princess in the family, Rite Aid carries gifts including Sofia the First Color N Style activity kit, Frozen inspired games and plush puppy carriers. Add a plush friend to any little one’s present, picking from favorite characters like Olaf, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, My Little Pony, Rudolph and Dora.

Electronic Craze
Be sure to check out Rite Aid’s great deals on Craig tablets, netbooks and a 19-inch flatscreen television, and the new Midland wearable camera, which allows the user to capture all of the action from an incredible point of view. And back by popular demand, the Atari and Sega systems, which are packed with new games. Customers will also save on the 36-inch Tower Speaker and a wide selection of ear buds.

Celebrity Beauty Gift Sets
With 100 options to choose from, customers will find fantastic savings on celebrity and designer fragrance gift sets from favorites such as One Direction, Nicki Minaj, Katy Perry, Beyonce and Nautica. Shoppers will also find great value in Rite Aid’s exclusive “Wet n Wild” 8-piece nail enamel set and a broad selection of bath sets including Dove, Caress and Axe. Give a unique gift to someone special like a massaging neck pillow or jewelry tree.

Deck the Halls
From hot prices on gift wrap, gift bags and boxed cards to great deals on light sets, trees and ornaments, Rite Aid has everything shoppers need to decorate their home and prepare for the holidays. Light up the street with an outdoor inflatable Christmas character and inside, our popular 5-foot tall animated, singing and storytelling Santa. Turn the house into a Winter Wonderland with holiday décor items including village collection pieces, snowmen, bears, wall art and live poinsettias available at select stores.

Gift That Keeps On Giving
With over 200 to choose from, Rite Aid has the perfect gift card for that hard-to-buy for person on your list. Popular for this year will include Rite Aid, iTunes, Google Play, Olive Garden, Applebee’s, Home Depot and Old Navy, along with the American Express and Visa gift cards.

Rite Aid Corporation (NYSE:RAD) is one of the nation’s leading drugstore chains with nearly 4,600 stores in 31 states and the District of Columbia and fiscal 2014 annual revenues of $25.5 billion. Information about Rite Aid, including corporate background and press releases, is available through the company’s website at www.riteaid.com.

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Contact:

Media: Kristin Kellum 717-975-5713