Healthy food and drinks spur convenience store sales
Revenue at convenience stores grew during the first six months of 2018, according to the Alexandria, Va.-based National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS). Retailers see the increase in better-for-you snacks and drink offerings as the main reason, a NACS press release stated. The quarterly survey tracks retailer sentiment related to their businesses, the industry and the economy.
U.S. auto drivers purchase nearly 80 percent of their fuel from convenience stores and conduct an estimated 165 million transactions there daily, the NACS said, adding that it makes c-stores a good indicator for travel-related consumer spending trends. More than three in four (79 percent) convenience store retailers posted in-store sales increases in the first six months of 2018 versus the same time in 2017, the release said, and 56 percent indicated fuel sales were higher than last year, while 7 percent said in-store sales dropped and 19 percent pegged fuel sale declines.
Retailers say a continued focus on fresh and healthy items in stores helped boost sales, and they plan to continue dedicating more sales space to such items. Retailers cited the addition or expansion of the following items in their stores:
·Health bars (45 percent of retailers added or significantly expanded within the first half of 2018)
·Fresh fruit/vegetables (41 percent)
·Packaged salads (37 percent)
·Nuts/trail mix (35 percent)
Many stores said they added flavored/enhanced waters (54 percent) as well as regular bottled water (52 percent). Water also contributed to the sales growth, and 46 percent of the retailers surveyed said they expected increased still-bottled water sales while 42 percent expected gains in sparkling bottled water sales. Lower-calorie beverages such as tea and coffee also were mentioned by 42 percent of the retailers surveyed. "Along with prepared foods, packaged beverages are a main draw at stores during the summer months," the NACS stated.