C-store Retailers Have Positive Outlook on Second-Quarter 2019 Growth
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Convenience retailers have a positive outlook heading into the second quarter of 2019, anticipating strong sales will continue into the summer drive season.
Two in three c-store retailers (67 percent) expect sales increases during the second quarter of 2019 over the same period 2018, according to the quarterly NACS Retailer Sentiment Survey from NACS, the Association for Convenience & Fuel Retailing.
Convenience retailers, who sell an estimated 80 percent of the fuel purchased in the United States, also expect fuel sales to remain strong. Nearly four in five (79 percent) said that they expect fuel sales from April through June to at least match sales from the same period last year.
Retailers express confidence that sales of prepared foods will also grow in the second quarter of 2019. More than half of retailers (52 percent) said that their sandwich and meal sales will help drive sales this quarter. Prepared food sales account for one in six sales dollars in a convenience store, according to newly released NACS State of the Industry data for 2018.
Fresh and healthy products are also expected to lead sales growth: 22 percent of c-store retailers say fruits and vegetables like salads and cut fruit will lead sales growth, and another 22 percent said that healthy packaged snacks will lead growth.
On-the-go beverage sales also are expected to heat up at convenience stores this quarter. Half of all retailers expect energy drink sales to increase, and 38 percent expect an increase in bottled water sales. Meanwhile, 16 percent of retailers expect coffee sales to increase, despite intense competition from quick-service restaurants for the morning coffee customer.
While retailers are optimistic about their sales this quarter, feelings about the economy have cooled. Overall, 69 percent are optimistic about the economy this quarter, a five-point drop from the same period last year.
The quarterly NACS Retailer Sentiment Survey tracks retailer sentiment related to their businesses, the industry and the economy. A total of 68 NACS member companies, representing a cumulative 2,204 stores, participated in the April 2019 survey.
Alexandria-based NACS, the Association for Convenience & Fuel Retailing, has 1,900 retailer and 1,800 supplier members from more than 50 countries.