Steady sales growth in US convenience market: NACS

US convenience store sales have grown steadily in the first half of 2017, according to results from a National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) survey released this week.

The association claims that 67 per cent of retailers surveyed achieved higher growth in in-store sales during the period compared with the first half of 2016, while sales dropped for only 15 per cent. Fifty-one per cent reported higher fuel sales than during the same period last year, offering convenience-store retailers some optimism for the second half of this year.

The study found that optimism in the industry is at its highest level recorded, with 83 per cent of retailers surveyed saying they feel optimistic about their business prospects for the third quarter of the year. The NACS says this optimism is driven by high consumer confidence, with, for example, 58 per cent of drivers reporting feeling optimistic about the US economy.

The association says the convenience industry’s willingness to adapt to consumer needs, with offerings such as fresh and prepared food, is fuelling growth.

The survey results indicated a strong push towards perceived healthy options from the convenience sector, with 47 per cent of those surveyed saying they were stocking more fresh fruit, 35 per cent stocking more packaged salads and 29 per cent stocking more cut-fruit/vegetables. Nearly half were also stocking more health bars and 41 per cent offering more nuts and trail mix. Seventy per cent were stocking more nutraceuticals/enhanced water, 60 per cent stocking more bottle water and 48 per cent stocking more low-calorie teas.

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