Staples Survey revealed optimism among small business owners as they kick off 2017

Majority Believe Business Tax Reform Should be Top Priority in 2017

FRAMINGHAM, Mass., 2017-Jan-05 — /EPR Retail News/ — On the heels of an unprecedented year, the Staples National Small Business Survey (NASDAQ: SPLS) has revealed optimism among small business owners as they kick off 2017. The survey, commissioned by Staples and conducted by Wakefield Research, discovered that 85% of American small business owners are “optimistic” about the small business climate in the new year, while 67% think business tax reform should be the top policy priority for 2017.

Signaling further short- and long-term positivity, 67% of respondents plan to hire employees in 2017, while 91% would be likely to encourage their children to start their own business given the current state of the small business environment.

Staples fielded the survey to explore the outlook of small business owners across the country as they gear up for success in the year ahead. Additional results include:

  • 97% of small business owners plan to increase investment in their companies in 2017
  • 72% plan to increase staff compensation in 2017
  • 93% believe running your own business is the best kind of job satisfaction there is

“We’ve been a small business champion for more than 30 years, and are pleased that small business owners are hopeful and confident as we head into the new year,” said Frank P. Bifulco, Jr., executive vice president global marketing, Staples. “We conducted the survey to better understand the pulse of small business owners and to further identify those priority product and service areas in which we can help our customers achieve success in 2017.”

To help small business owners both in-stores and at Staples.com, Staples Print and Marketing Services offers everything from business cards and logo design to marketing materials and signage. Additionally, the Staples Small Business Hub is a resource with expert tips, information and industry advice.

Survey Methodology
This 2017 small business survey was designed by Staples and conducted online by Wakefield Research, among 502 U.S. small businesses owners, from December 14 to December 21, 2016. For the purpose of this survey, small businesses owners were defined as those who had up to 10 full-time employees.

About Staples, Inc.
Staples helps small business customers make more happen by providing a broad assortment of products, expanded business services and easy ways to shop – in stores, online, via mobile or through social apps. Staples Business Advantage, the business-to-business division, caters to mid-market, commercial and enterprise-sized customers by offering a one-source solution for the products and services they need, combined with best-in-class customer service, competitive pricing and a state-of-the-art ecommerce site. Headquartered outside of Boston, Staples, Inc. operates throughout North and South America, Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. More information about Staples(NASDAQ: SPLS) is available at www.staples.com.

Contact:
Carrie McElwee
508-253-1405
Carrie.McElwee@Staples.com

Source: Staples, Inc.

NACS survery: Convenience retailer optimism picked up sharply as sales remained strong for the first nine months of the year

ALEXANDRIA, Va., 2016-Oct-06 — /EPR Retail News/ — Convenience retailer optimism picked up sharply as sales of both in-store items and motor fuels remained strong for the first nine months of the year, according to a survey of retailers released today (10/4/2016) by the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS).

More than two in three convenience retailers (69%) say that in-store sales in the first nine months of 2016 were higher than the same period last year. And three in five (60%) say that motor fuels sales were higher compared to the nine months of 2015. Only 9% of retailers say that in-store sales were lower and only 14% say fuel sales were lower over the first nine months of 2016 compared to a year ago.

Strong convenience store sales also pushed retailer optimism higher. Nearly three in four (73%) convenience retailers say they are optimistic about their own business prospects in the fourth quarter, up from 68% who said they were optimistic last quarter.

New foodservice offers and the continued growth of craft beer—and growler—sales at convenience stores were cited as factors driving retailer optimism. Linda Herrera at Grand View General Store (Tetonia, ID) said the store’s fresh food offering is expected to drive sales, and Labrine Voutsinas at Bayshore Breeze Market & Grill (Dunedin, FL) said beer sales are expected to grow. And retailers are embracing technology to enhance the experience. Mark Nelson at Dyno’s Convenience Store (Spencer, IA) said they are expecting to increase consumer traffic with a new rewards program.

Retailers said that the holidays in the fourth quarter should help grow sales, as will the good weather and continued low oil prices—if they both happen.

Retailers were nearly as optimistic about the overall convenience store industry’s prospects. More than two in three (71%) say they are optimistic about the convenience retailing industry over the fourth quarter, up 8 points from the previous quarter. And a majority of retailers (53%) say they are optimistic about the overall U.S. economy, a 6-point jump from last quarter.

To no one’s surprise, the factor most cited as affecting sales in the fourth quarter was the upcoming election.

“Traditionally, consumer sentiment—and spending—decreases in the weeks before an election before rebounding,” said NACS Vice President of Strategic Industry Initiatives Jeff Lenard. “But retailers also expressed concerns about how the election will shape legislation and regulations related to their businesses.”

A number of retailers are finding ways to engage customers during the election season. 7-Eleven is once again conducting its 7-Election, encouraging consumers to pick the coffee cup that reflects their vote. The promotion has accurately predicted the past four presidential elections and current results reflect a dead heat for the 2016 election.

“We’re also using the election as a promotional opportunity,” said Dennis McCartney with Landhope Farms Corp. (Kennett Square, PA). “In this business, you have to capitalize on everything that surrounds you and your customers!”

The quarterly NACS Retailer Sentiment Survey tracks retailer sentiment related to their businesses, the industry and the economy as a whole. A total of 115 member companies, representing a cumulative 1,728 stores, participated in the September 2016 survey.

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 154,000 stores across the country, conducts 160 million transactions a day, sells 80% of the fuel purchased in the country and had total sales of $575 billion in 2015. NACS has 2,100 retail and 1,700 supplier member companies, which do business in nearly 50 countries.

Contact:

(703) 684-3600 (phone)
(703) 836-4564 (fax)

Source: NACS

NACS: U.S. consumer optimism remained stable despite increase in gas prices over the past month

ALEXANDRIA, Va, 2016-Sep-14 — /EPR Retail News/ — Despite a 10-cent increase in gas prices over the past month, U.S. consumer optimism about the overall state of the U.S. economy remained stable according to the latest national consumer survey released by the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS).

U.S. fuel consumers quickly noticed this month’s price increase. About two in five (43%) U.S. fuel consumers say that gas prices rose in their area in the last 30 days. Just last month (August 2016), roughly the same number (42%) said they had noticed prices at the pump declining. Although consumers across the nation noticed a gas price rise this month, there are regional differences. For example, fuel consumers in the South (48%) were more likely to notice an increase in the price of gas as compared to fuel consumers in the Midwest (43%).

Even though many customers noticed the gas price increases, their economic mood remained largely unchanged, increasing one percentage point to 45% optimistic. There were strong regional variations in the latest survey results, with consumers in the West much more likely to be optimistic (49%) compared to consumers in the Northeast (40%). Consumers in the Northeast also were the most likely to say that gas prices will increase over the next 30 days (51% in the Northeast vs. 45% in the rest of the country).

There were other variations across demographics. For the first time since the monthly surveys were launched in January 2013, younger consumers—those ages 18-34—are the least optimistic age group, with 42% expressing optimism about the economy. Also, women have been generally less optimistic about the economy than men, but were slightly more optimistic in September (45% vs. 44%).

“From 2013 to 2015, gas price increases have almost always led to declines in optimism—and vice versa, but we have only seen that dynamic in three of the nine months this year. The extended period of low gas prices and the sustained negative political campaign probably both play a role in this change,” said Jeff Lenard, NACS vice president of strategic industry initiatives.

Consumers say their vehicle’s average fuel efficiency dropped to 23.6 miles per gallon, which is about 2.5% lower that self-reported mileage a year ago. Average miles per dollar—a calculation that examines gas prices related to vehicle fuel efficiency—dipped to 10.7 miles per dollar as gas prices rose and fuel efficiency declined.

Despite the uptick in gas prices, they are still 19 cents lower than last September, when consumers reported a median gas price of $2.39 per gallon.

NACS, which represents the convenience store industry that sells 80% of the gas in the United States, conducts monthly consumer surveys to gauge how gas prices affect broader economic trends. The survey was conducted online by Penn Schoen Berland; 1,100 U.S. adults who purchase fuel for a vehicle such as a car, truck or van at least once per month were surveyed September 6-9, 2016. Summary results are available at nacsonline.com/fuelssurvey.

Contact:

(703) 684-3600 (phone)
(703) 836-4564 (fax)

Source: NACS

NACS survey: Overall consumer optimism about the U.S. economy increased three points to 47% in July

ALEXANDRIA, Va., 2016-Jul-14 — /EPR Retail News/ — Consumer optimism increased to its highest level since March as gas prices reversed a four-month climb and dropped 12 cents per gallon last month, according to the latest national consumer survey released by the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS).

Overall consumer optimism about the U.S. economy increased three points to 47% in July, but there were significant demographic variations. Six in 10 younger consumers (60%) ages 18–34 say that they are optimistic, compared to only 37% of those ages 50 or older.

Gas prices remain much lower than they have been in recent summers. This month’s reported price of $2.26 per gallon is 53 cents lower than the reported price of $2.79 in July 2015. As gas prices have declined, U.S. fuel consumers are less likely to say that gas prices significantly affect their feelings about the economy. Just one in five (22%) of fuel consumers say gas prices have a “great impact” on their feelings about the economy, the lowest number since NACS began surveying in January 2013.

Not only are consumer less concerned about current prices, they also feel good about future price changes. Only four in 10 (41%) consumers expect gas prices to increase over the next 30 days, the lowest percentage since February. And they say that prices would have to reach an average of $4.71—more than double today’s prices—before they would consider alternatives to driving or significantly reduce the amount that they drive.

The boost in consumer optimism regarding the economy may not immediately translate into a boost for the economy. Only one in five consumers (20%) say they will drive more over the coming month and only one in six consumers (16%) say they will spend more money shopping at all retail locations this month. However, both percentages are in line with historical averages for the month.

Fuel efficiency may also play a role in optimism. Consumers say their vehicle’s average fuel efficiency increased to 25.2 miles per gallon, the highest level since NACS began conducting monthly consumer surveys in 2013. As a result, average miles per dollar—a calculation that examines gas prices related to vehicle fuel efficiency—increased to 11.2 miles per dollar.

“Monthly changes in gas prices clearly affect consumer sentiment. The question is how much any future price drops can push optimism higher at a time when consumers still have broader political concerns, especially as the national conventions loom,” said Jeff Lenard, NACS vice president of strategic industry initiatives.

NACS, which represents the convenience store industry that sells 80% of the gas in the United States, conducts monthly consumer surveys to gauge how gas prices affect broader economic trends. The survey was conducted online by Penn Schoen Berland; 1,101 U.S. adults who purchase fuel for a vehicle such as a car, truck or van at least once per month were surveyed July 5–8, 2016. Summary results are available at nacsonline.com/fuelssurvey.

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 154,000 stores across the country, conducts 160 million transactions a day, sells 80% of the fuel purchased in the country and had total sales of $575 billion in 2015. NACS has 2,100 retail and 1,700 supplier member companies, which do business in nearly 50 countries.

Contact:

For media interviews/comments contact Jeff Lenard.

Source: NACS