U.S. Convenience Store Count
The U.S. convenience store count increased to a record 149,220 stores as of December 31, 2012, a 0.7% increase
(1,094 stores) from the year prior, according to the 2013 NACS/Nielsen Convenience Industry Store Count
The link between fuels and convenience retailing continues to grow. Overall, 82.6% of convenience stores
(123,289 total) sell motor fuels, a 1.9% increase (2,339 stores) over last year. The growth of convenience
stores selling motor fuels is nearly triple the overall growth in the industry, as fuels retailers added
convenience operations and convenience retailers added fueling operations.
The convenience retailing industry continues to be dominated by single-store operators, which now account for
62.9% of all convenience stores (93,819 stores total), an increase of 0.7% over last year. There also continues
to be bifurcation within the industry. The only other company size that experienced growth was stores owned by
companies with 500-plus stores. That total is now 21,738 stores, an 8.9% increase over last year.
U.S. Convenience Stores (as of 12/31/12)
2013 — 149,220 (+0.7% over previous year)
2012 — 148,126 (+1.2%)
2011 — 146,341 (+1.2%)
2010 — 144,541 (-0.2%)
2009 — 144,875 (-1.0%)
2008 — 146,294 (+0.8%)
2007 —145,119 (+3.2%)
2006 — 140,655 (+1.8%)
2005 — 138,205 (+5.8%)
2004 — 130,659 (-1.3%)
2003 — 132,424 (+6.4%)
1. Texas 14,920 stores
2. California 10,916
3. Florida 9,571
4. New York 7,989
5. Georgia 6,626
6. North Carolina 6,274
7. Ohio 5,374
8. Michigan 4,866
9. Illinois 4,582
10. Virginia 4,482
Bottom three states in terms of store count are Alaska (202 stores), Delaware (348) and Wyoming (354).
U.S. Channel Count Comparison (Nielsen numbers as of 12/31/12)
Convenience Stores 149,220
Drug Stores 40,727
Dollar Stores 24,075
Several states had store counts grow at a rate of 2 percent or more: Alaska (4.1%), Hawaii (2.7%), Utah (2.6%),
Delaware (2.4%), Maryland (2.3%), Oregon (2.2%) and Wyoming (2.0%). Growth in Washington, D.C., was 3.4%
Convenience stores especially serve as the one-stop shop for food and fuels in states that are dominated by
small towns. There are five states in which 95% or more of the convenience stores also sell fuel: Kansas and
Iowa (both 95.5%), Wyoming (95.8%), North Dakota (96.7%) and Nebraska (96.8%)
The states with the lowest percentage of stores selling fuel either have full-service fueling mandates (New
Jersey and Oregon) or are in the Northeast where many stores were built before the early 1970s when motor fuels
sales at convenience stores began to flourish. The five states with the lowest percentage of convenience stores
that sell motor fuels are New Jersey (54.5%), Massachusetts (57.1%), New York (59.6%), Oregon (66.4%) and Rhode
Island (67.2%). Only 44.3% of stores in Washington, D.C., sell motor fuels.
The percentage of one-store operators, true mom-and-pop stores, continues to climb. The percentage of one-store
operators topped 50 percent for the first time in 2001; today, that percentage is 62.9%. The states with highest
percentage of one-store operations are Washington (76.3%), Georgia (76.7%), Alabama (73.9%), Louisiana (72.8%)
and Connecticut (72.2%). In Washington, D.C., 77.6% of convenience stores are one-store operations.
The U.S. population on Dec. 31, 2012, was an estimated 315 million, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That
means there is one convenience per approximately every 2,100 residents.
The convenience retailing industry has seen remarkable growth over the last three decades. At year-end 1982, the
store count was 76,200 stores, at year-end 1992 the store count was 100,800 stores and at year-end 2002 the
store count was 132,400 stores.
Nielsen calculations are based in part on data reported by Nielsen for period ending December 2012 through its
TDLinx service for retail channels. Nielsen determines its convenience store count using the store definition
that requires that stores that include a broad merchandise mix, extended hours of operation and a minimum of 500
stock-keeping units (SKUs), among other factors.
Source: NACS Online Research