151,000 C-Stores

U.S. convenience stores top 151,000

Ever wonder why “convenience” and “innovation” in packaging are so important to dairy marketers?
The U.S. convenience store count increased to 151,282 stores as of Dec. 31, 2013, a 1.4% increase
(2,062 stores) from the year prior, according to the 2014 NACS/Nielsen Convenience Industry Store
Count.

Convenience stores account for 34.3% of all retail outlets in the United States, according to
Nielsen, which is significantly higher than the U.S. total of other retail channels including drug
stores (41,378 stores), supermarket/supercenter (37,459 stores) and dollar stores (24,853 stores).
Among the states, Texas continues to lead in store count with 15,191 stores, up from 14,920 in
2013. The rest of the top 10 states for convenience stores are California (11,188), Florida
(9,737), New York (8,154), Georgia (6,750), North Carolina (6,272), Ohio (5,452), Michigan,
(4,903), Illinois (4,607) and Virginia (4,512).

The convenience retailing industry has roughly doubled in size over the last three decades. At
year-end 1983, the store count was 80,900 stores, at year-end 1993 the store count was 98,400
stores and at year-end 2003 the store count was 132,659 stores.

The link between fuels and convenience retailing continues to grow. Overall, 83.7% of convenience
stores (126,658 total) sell motor fuels, a 2.7% increase (3,369 stores) over 2013. The growth of
convenience stores selling motor fuels is double the overall growth in the industry, as fuel
retailers add convenience operations and convenience retailers add fueling operations.
The convenience retailing industry continues to be dominated by single-store operators, which
account for 62.8% of all convenience stores (95,056 stores total).

Source: National Association of Convenience Stores (nacsonline.com)

Top 100 U.S. C-Store Chains:

http://www.c-stores.com/samples/Top100.pdf

Top 10 Common Sense Tips for Convenience Store Owners

Convenience-Store-Interior-Best practices always start with trying to be the best. I have helped
design and re-design convenience stores for some of the best-known names in the industry, including
the successful execution of ExxonMobil’s On the Run stores. Here are the top 10 things I’ve learned
over the years that should be common sense, but aren’t quite:

Test new things constantly. Convenience stores are small enough for customers to notice new
products. Some won’t work, but some may be a sensation.

Solicit feedback. Develop an informal, store-level feedback system. Store managers need to
understand what customers are responding to and why in order to maximize their marketing and
merchandising efforts.

Keep your operation clean and mean. Don’t let deferred maintenance get in front of you. Are the
rest rooms in your store as clean as your home? If not, you are telling women you don’t want their
business. Lean and mean is the way it is now, but clean and mean is the way it should be.

You can’t sell what you don’t have. Remember, sparse inventory is not the customers’ fault because
they are buying too much.

Treat customers and staff with respect. In today’s marketplace, the definition of loyalty is the
absence of a better offer. This is true for price, product mix and increasingly, for experience.
C-stores can engender the same loyalty available to larger retailers by creating a total experience
that highlights service and respect.

Driving traffic from the pump into the store is key. Make sure all your signage is prominent and
attention-getting. Consider changing it throughout the day. You want to entice customers with the
coffee and doughnut special in the morning and then a sandwich and chips in the afternoon.

Invest in store design. Create an experience that will make your store the preferred stop.
Everything from wide aisles to appealing smells makes a difference in the mind of the consumer.

Control clutter at the checkout. Too much product in a small space can create sensory overload and
possibly discourage the impulse purchase. Instead create compelling displays of those impulse
items.

Stay on top of industry trends. Read trade magazines and stay ahead of the curve. It’s best to be
first, but worse to be third.

It’s called a convenience store for a reason. People want to get in and out with ease, so integrate
new technology and navigation tools that can speed up the process both inside and outside the
store.

Courtesy of Singlestoreowner.com

 

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