2Q C-Store Visits Down

Traffic declines as gasoline prices rise, reports NPD

HOUSTON -- Historically, when gasoline prices increase, convenience store visits decline. History held true in the second quarter of 2011 when, due to rising gasoline prices, convenience store traffic declined by 4% compared to same quarter year ago, according to research by The NPD Group, a leading market research company.

With higher gasoline prices at the pump, price of fuel and gasoline availability fell in the second quarter precipitously as purchase drivers for convenience store shoppers.

Based on reporting by NPD's Convenience Store Monitor, which continually [image-nocss] tracks the consumer purchasing behavior of more than 51,000 convenience store shoppers in the United States, traffic declines were steeper for major oil and small independent chains, down 7%, than at traditional convenience stores where traffic was down 1%.

Convenience store shoppers made up for their decrease in visits by spending more when they did shop, according to the Convenience Store Monitor. Sales improved by 2% by an increase in the average check, as well as growing purchase incidence in some key categories.

"An uncertain economy along with rising gas and food prices have put already cost-conscious consumers in an even more frugal mode," said David Portalatin, executive director of industry analysis for NPD's convenience store research. "Consumers today want the most out of every dollar they spend and the price/value equation is foremost in their minds."

The NPD Group, Houston, is a leading provider of consumer and retail information for a wide range of industries. It helps clients to identify new business opportunities and guide product development, marketing, sales, merchandising and other functions. Information is available for the following industry sectors: automotive, beauty, commercial technology, consumer technology, entertainment, fashion, food and beverage, foodservice, home, office supplies, software, sports, toys and wireless.

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