Murphy USA is looking closely at its competitive positioning, as well.
“What we are seeing year over year over year is a deceleration of the new builds [by] competitors,” Clyde said. “One can simply look to Wal-Mart's Analyst Day and the 2019 projections they laid out for Supercenters and Neighborhood Markets.”
Wal-Mart said it plans to open fewer than 15 Supercenters and fewer than 10 Neighborhood Markets in the United States in fiscal 2019. Murphy USA has more than 1,000 gas stations in Wal-Mart parking lots via a relationship that ended in January 2016, with Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart deciding to move forward with its own fuel branding for new locations. It already has gas stations at Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club and Neighborhood Market stores.
“While clearly adding fuel in front of so many Neighborhood Markets in prior years had an impact on us and others, this is a rapid deceleration of that,” Clyde said.
Murphy USA is going to continue to concentrate on high-traffic areas in core markets where it “can build up scale with loyalty,” said Clyde. “That doesn't necessarily have to be right in front of the Wal-Mart, but that's always been a good proxy for a high-traffic area. But we have success away from that, typically with a little bit larger format.”