Convenience Industry Count Grows by 2,000-Plus Stores

ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- The convenience store industry continues to make its presence felt in the retail community, growing to 151,282 stores as of Dec. 31. According to the 2014 NACS/Nielsen Convenience Industry Store Count, the 2,062-unit increase from the previous year translates into a 1.4-percent jump.

Store count is not the only thing expanding. The link between fuel and convenience retailing continues to grow as well. Overall, 83.7 percent of convenience stores (126,658) sell motor fuels, a 2.7-percent increase (3,369 stores) over the prior year. The growth of convenience stores selling motor fuels is double the overall growth of the industry, as fuel retailers add convenience operations and convenience retailers add fueling operations.

Convenience stores account for 34.3 percent of all retail outlets in the United States, according to Nielsen, which is noticeably higher than the U.S. total of other retail channels including drugstores (41,378 stores), supermarkets/supercenters (37,459 stores) and dollar stores (24,853 stores).

"Today's time-starved consumers need quick and convenient access to food, fuel and beverages. No other retail channel comes close to filling these needs than America's convenience stores, which is why our industry continues to grow, innovate, and support their communities and their customers' busy lifestyles," said NACS Chairman Brad Call, vice president of adventure culture at North Salt Lake City, Utah-based Maverik Inc.

The convenience retailing industry continues to be dominated by single-store operators, which account for 62.8 percent of all convenience stores (95,056 stores).

Looking state by state, Texas continues to lead in store count with 15,191 c-stores, up from 14,920 in 2013. The rest of the top 10 states for c-stores are: California (11,188), Florida (9,737), New York (8,154), Georgia (6,750), North Carolina (6,272), Ohio (5,452), Michigan, (4,903), Illinois (4,607) and Virginia (4,512).

The convenience retailing industry has roughly doubled in size over the past 30 years. At year-end 1983, the store count was 80,900 stores, at year-end 1993 the store count was 98,400 stores, and at year-end 2003 the store count was 132,659 stores, according to the 2014 NACS/Nielsen Convenience Industry Store Count.

Nielsen calculations are based in part on data reported by Nielsen for the period ended Dec. 31, 2013, through its TDLinx service for retail channels. Nielsen determines the convenience store count using the definition that requires stores to include a broad merchandise mix, extended hours of operation and a minimum of 500 SKUs, among other factors.