C-stores See Contraction in Trips & Basket Spend Amid Continuing COVID-19 Crisis

ALEXANDIRA, Va. — Trips and basket spend contracted in the convenience store industry during the last two weeks of June as market dynamics continue to change countrywide.

According to the latest biweekly report from PDI and NACS on how COVID-19 is impacting consumer behavior, packaged beverages and beer contributed to the biggest trip declines for the two-week period ended June 28, but trip setback generally broadened.

During and since stay-at-home orders in April and May, the packaged beverage category experienced a significant climb but reversed course in the final week of June. The foodservice and commissary categories continued to lag most categories.

There is generally positive news: The changes in recent weeks have been marginal, and week-over-week spend data indicate that consumer behavior is remaining relatively consistent. The latest data indicate that foodservice, commissary and packaged sweet snacks continue to improve in terms of trips, although they have a lot of ground to make up from their pre-COVID-19 performance.

Additional insights from the biweekly report include:

  • Foot traffic in the weekday morning rush period (7 to 9:59 a.m.) stands at 85 period of prior year traffic, down slightly from 86 percent for the week ended June 14. Remaining dayparts lost more of the ground that they'd gained in prior weeks but still are above 90 percent of last year's level.
  • Dollar sales growth fell slightly from the prior two-week period: 6.4 percent vs. 8.4 percent for the weeks ended June 14.
  • Basket spend dipped slightly year over year: 19.1 percent vs. 19.9 percent for the weeks ended June 14.
  • Trips fell from the prior two week: -11.1 percent vs. -10.2 percent year over year for the two-week period ended June 14.
  • Packaged beverage trips declined year over year (-0.3 percent vs. +1.3 percent for the two weeks ended June 14), as did cold dispensed beverages (-28.3 percent vs. -26.7 percent) and beer (2.9 percent vs. 6.4 percent).
  • Lottery/gaming and other tobacco products trips fell year over year: -8.8 percent vs. -4.3 percent and -4.8 percent vs. -3.1 percent, respectively.

Powered by PDI Insights Cloud, the PDI and NACS report provides consumer trip and basket-level data and analysis from 5,500 mid- to large-size convenience retail sites across all key geographic locations. The full report is available here.