NATIONAL REPORT — When it comes to the business of convenience and fuel retailing, the supply side of the equation is going into 2016 with an upbeat attitude.
As part of this year’s Industry Forecast Study, Convenience Store News conducted its first-ever Supplier Forecast Study to complement the Retailer Forecast Study started last year. The majority of c-store suppliers and wholesalers that participated have a favorable outlook when it comes to the 2016 economic picture.
Notably, 41.7 percent hold a “very positive” view of the overall conditions of the U.S. economy, 28.6 percent hold a “positive” view and 10.4 percent hold a “slightly positive” view. On the other hand, only a combined 12.9 percent view the U.S. economy of 2016 negatively.
When asked about their particular product categories, the supply side of the convenience retailing chain does hedge its bets a little. While still overwhelmingly positive, those indicating they are very positive about their particular product category dipped to 35.5 percent, followed by 28.7 percent who are positive and 16.4 percent who are slightly positive.
No respondents from either the supplier or wholesaler communities said they are very negative on their product category, and only 6.5 percent said they’re slightly negative.
Stacking up the convenience channel against the other retail channels they serve, c-store suppliers and wholesalers gave convenience high marks for performance. A whopping 86.7 percent of respondents placed convenience in the positive column when asked to rate conditions in the retail channels where they work. This rating placed convenience squarely in front of all competing channels, with drug coming in second at a 65.4-percent positive rating.
The inaugural CSNews Supplier Forecast Study also asked participants to weigh in on what the key factors for their business’ success in 2016 will be. New product development, an uptick in consumer spending, and growth in store count were the top three factors cited.
For full results of our 14th annual Forecast Study, including dollar and unit projections in key c-store product categories, look in the January issue of Convenience Store News.