US convenience stores investing in improvements

The US convenience store industry cumulatively invested more than US$6 billion ($7.76 billion) in upgrading stores in communities across the country in 2015, according to industry metrics provided by the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS).

The average cost of a store remodel in 2015 was US$409,582 ($539,162), up 40 per cent from 2011. With 12 per cent of all convenience stores undergoing remodels in 2015, this means the industry cumulatively committed more than US$6.3 billion ($8.15 billion) to improving stores in communities across the country.

The industry also invested billions of dollars more in new store builds. The average cost to build a new convenience store in a rural community was US$4.36 million ($5.64 million) in 2015. The average cost to open a convenience store in an urban market was roughly US$500,000 ($647,000) more per store than rural locations, averaging US$4.87 million ($6.3 million), mostly because of higher real estate costs, even though the lots and stores typically are smaller. Rural lots average 80,052 square feet (7,437sqm) compared with 71,525 square feet (6,645sqm) for urban stores. Rural stores average 4,938 square feet (458.7sqm) compared with 4,594 square feet (426.7sqm).

The cost of the building itself was 37 per cent of the cost of a new store build. Equipment costs (for foodservice, motor fuel and technology, in particular) were also 37 per cent of overall costs. The remainder of the costs were for land (22 per cent) and inventory (four per cent).

NACS Vice President of Strategic Industry Initiatives Jeff Lenard says convenience stores don’t just serve communities – they invest in them.

“With this large investment, they have a stake in the community’s success and seek to enhance it,” he said.

The average interval between store remodels is 10 years. The average age of registered vehicles in the US is 11.5 years, so it is likely that the typical car pulling into a convenience store – for food or fuel – is older than the store itself.

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