Growth States

Population shifts provide a barometer for potential retail growth

Angel Abcede, Senior Editor/Tobacco, CSP

[Editor's Note: This article is part of an ongoing series on how the recession is affecting the convenience store landscape.] WASHINGTON -- Despite rampant economic woes, well-capitalized buyers both in the United States and abroad are finding opportunity in the U.S. convenience channel, according to those involved in ongoing transactions.

Pinpointing exactly where these deals are occurring may be more of an art than science, but at least one leading indicator is business growth, according to Tom Kelso, a managing director with Matrix Capital Markets Group Inc., [image-nocss] based in both Baltimore and Richmond, Va.

Just about every one of the geographies Kelso names as "hot" markets are areas of large population growth. "That plays into major attractiveness," he told CSP Daily News. "That's not to say that some [buyers and sellers] don't do very well in the Midwest, but people outside the U.S. [especially] look in high-growth areas, typically where the real-estate value is high."

According to the most recent numbers released by the U.S. Census Bureau, Utah, Arizona, Texas, North Carolina and Coloradoin that ordermake up the nation's top five fastest-growing states. Growth for states like Utah has been organic, while states such as Texas experienced a greater degree of immigration.

In terms of cities, the Census puts New Orleans at the top of the list as the country's fastest-growing cities, despite the devastation from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita three years ago. According to the Census, the Sun Belt was a magnet for growth, with statistics for the period ending July 1, 2007, showing big gains in cities surrounding Dallas-Fort Worth, Raleigh-Durham, N.C., and Nashville, Tenn.

Here are the top 10 fastest-growing U.S. cities:

City Population Growth
New Orleans, La. 239,124 13.8%
Victorville, Calif. 107,221 9.5%
McKinney, Texas 115,620 8%
North Las Vegas 212,114 7.4%
Cary, N.C. 121,796 7.3%
Killeen, Texas 112,434 6.5%
Port St. Lucie, Fla. 151,391 6.3%
Gilbert, Ariz. 207,550 5.8%
Clarksville, Tenn. 119,284 4.8%
Denton, Texas 115,506 4.7%

For a more insights on the changing c-store merger-and-acquisition landscape and to view CSP's exclusive countdown of the nation's Top 10 Changing Markets, watch for the February issue of CSP magazine.

Angel Abcede, CSP/Winsight By Angel Abcede, Senior Editor/Tobacco, CSP
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