International news: US convenience store industry continues to grow

The number of US convenience stores increased to 154,195 as of December 31, 2015, a 0.9 per cent increase (1,401 stores) from 2014, according to the 2016 NACS/Nielsen Convenience Industry Store Count.

Within the retail universe that Nielsen tracks, convenience stores account for 34.2 per cent of all outlets in the US, which is significantly higher than the US total of other retail channels, including ‘superettes’, supermarkets and supercentres (51,055 stores), drug stores (41,969 stores) and dollar stores (27,378 stores).

Overall, 80.7 per cent of convenience stores (124,374) sell motor fuel.

“Our continued growth shows that our industry’s core offer of convenience resonates with time-starved customers, whether they are searching for a fuel fill-up, a quick and healthy snack, a refreshing drink or for fill-in groceries or take-out meals,” NACS Chairman Jack Kofdarali said.

Single-store operators continue to dominate US convenience retailing, accounting for 63.1 per cent of all convenience stores (97,359 stores) and 74.3 per cent of store growth in 2015.

The US industry has roughly doubled in size over the past three decades. At the end of 1985, the store count was 90,900 stores, by December 1995 it was  101,100 stores, and at year-end 2005 it was 140,665 stores.

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