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SOI 2019: Record In-Store Sales Driven by Foodservice

Cigarette share of sales slides; store size booms
nacs state of the industry summit

ROSEMONT, Ill. — Total U.S. convenience-store sales surged 8.9% to $654.3 billion in 2018, according to NACS State of the Industry data released today. The boost was led by a 13.2% increase in fuel sales, while in-store sales grew 2.2% to a record $242.2 billion.

Foodservice Powers Growth

Foodservice sales accounted for 22.6% of in-store sales, a category that continues to be a key focus area for the c-store channel. Foodservice is a broad category that mostly encompasses prepared food (69% of both category sales and profits), as well as commissary foods and hot, cold and frozen dispensed beverages.

The growth in foodservice also has led to an increase in store size. Overall, the average convenience store is 3,230 square feet. But as newer stores feature touchscreen food-ordering kiosks, add space for in-store seating and waiting areas and incorporate an open-kitchen design, the size of new stores has increased to 4,991 in rural locations and 4,603 square feet in urban locations.

Category Performance

Convenience stores are the destination of choice for the 165 million U.S. customers who frequent a c-store each day, and 83% of the items bought at a convenience store are consumed within the first hour of purchase.

Here are overall merchandise sales groups as a percentage of overall merchandise sales in 2018:

  • Cigarettes: 31% of in-store sales (down from 34.1% in 2017)
  • Foodservice (prepared and commissary food; hot, cold and dispensed beverages): 22.6%
  • Packaged beverages (carbonated soft drinks, energy drinks, water, sports drinks, juices and teas): 15.3%
  • Center of the store (salty snacks, candy, packaged sweet snacks and alternative snacks): 10.4%
  • Other tobacco products: 6.7%
  • Beer: 6.3% (12.4% for stores selling beer)
  • Other: 7.7%

Convenience retail industry data was announced at the NACS State of the Industry Summit, taking place April 2-4 at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare in Rosemont, Ill. More than 600 leading retail and supplier company representatives are at the industry’s top conference for benchmarking and analysis of retail trends.

Alexandria, Va.-based NACS advances the role of convenience stores as positive economic, social and philanthropic contributors to the communities they serve. The U.S. convenience-store industry, with more than 153,000 stores selling fuel, food and merchandise, serves more than 165 million customers daily—half of the U.S. population—and has sales that are 11% of total U.S. retail and foodservice sales.

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