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The convenience store industry had record sales of $700.3 billion in 2012, with in-store sales increasing 2.2 percent to reach a record $199.3 billion and motor fuels sales increasing 2.9 percent to a record $501.0 billion, according to figures released today by NACS.
The industry’s 2012 numbers were announced at the NACS State of the Industry Summit, a two-day conference that reviews and analyzes the industry’s key economic indicators.
The industry’s overall sales reflected real growth per store, with sales outpacing the 0.7 percent increase in convenience stores in 2012, according to the NACS/Nielsen Convenience Industry Store Count released in January 2012.
In-store sales growth was driven by double-digit sales gains in several subcategories: alternative snacks, which include meat snacks and health, energy and protein bars (12.2%), liquor, a relatively small subcategory (11.6%), cold dispensed beverages (11.3%) and sweet snacks (10.3%).
Foodservice was the category that drove profits, accounting for 27.1 percent of gross profit dollars. Packaged beverages accounted for 18.8 percent of gross profit dollars.
“These numbers demonstrate that Americans turn to us for their daily needs,” said NACS Chairman Dave Carpenter, president and CEO of J.D. Carpenter Companies Inc. “We are a vital part of consumers’ daily lives and the U.S. economy. We also continue to innovate and deliver on our promise of providing fast, one-stop shopping to consumers, whether they are on the road or in their communities.”
While sales and profits were strong, there are concerns for the convenience retailing industry. There was a major difference in sales and profits by quarter. First quarter sales and profits were considerably better than those of any other quarter, while fourth quarter sales and profits lagged behind the other quarters. Weather likely was a major factor in the sales and profits variations. The first quarter of 2012 was unusually warm and dry, which is conductive to growing on-the-go sales, while the fourth quarter had much poorer weather and significant storms in densely populated areas, most notably Hurricane Sandy.
The industry’s 2012 metrics are based on the NACS State of the Industry survey powered by its wholly owned subsidiary CSX, the industry’s largest online database of financial and operating data. Complete data and analysis will be released in June in the NACS State of the Industry Report of 2012 Data.