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Convenience-Store Retailers Report Higher Sales Year-to-Date in 2023

2 in 3 retailers report sales for first 7 months higher than over same period last year, says NACS
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Heading into the last five months of 2023, convenience-store retailers report that sales are up year-to-year, and they are optimistic about continuing that trend through the rest of the year, according to the results of a new survey released by the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS). Two in three retailers (66%) report that their sales for the first seven months are higher than over the same period last year; only 12% say sales are lower so far this year.

NACS’s CSX database of industry metrics shows similarly positive numbers. Through the first six months of 2023, in-store sales were up 9.4% compared to the same period in 2022, with inside transactions also up 1.0%.

Retailers also are bullish about the convenience channel’s sales for the rest of 2023, said NACS. Fully one-third of all convenience retailers said that convenience stores were the best positioned of six channels for success over the rest of 2023.

Q: Which channel is best positioned for success over the rest of 2023?

  • Convenience stores: 33%
  • Online retailers: 32%
  • Dollar stores: 14%

Meanwhile, only 8% of convenience retailers said the channel was worst positioned for success in 2023.

Q: Which channel is worst positioned for success over the rest of 2023?

  • Restaurants: 39%
  • Drug stores: 25%
  • Grocery stores: 12%

In looking at top industry concerns, the labor shortage remains top of mind, especially with unemployment near historic lows. Nearly half of all retailers (44%) listed it as their top concern.

Q: Which of the following issues are a concern to you? (Listed in order of importance.)

With convenience stores in every community in the country, they also play a role in uplifting those communities, NACS said, contributing more than $1 billion a year to charitable causes that enhance their communities. Preventing underage access to age-restricted products, the core deliverable of the NACS TruAge program, was cited as the top community issue for the industry to address.

Q: What community-focused issues should the industry address? (Top three responses of 8 offered; multiple responses permitted.)

  • Preventing underage access to age-restricted products: 56%
  • Wellness (nutrition, etc.): 48%
  • Human trafficking: 38%

NACS Research conducted the NACS Member Survey, which closed on Aug. 4. A total of 170 retailer member companies participated in the survey. NACS Research conducts quarterly custom research with retailer members to identify key priorities and opportunities across the convenience and fuel retail landscape.

The U.S. convenience-store industry, with more than 150,000 stores nationwide selling fuel, food and merchandise, conducts 160 million transactions daily and had sales of $906.1 billion in 2022, according to Alexandria, Virginia-based NACS, a global trade association dedicated to advancing convenience and fuel retailing.

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