Convenience Retailers Prepare for Hot Summer Sales

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Convenience Retailers Prepare for Hot Summer Sales

04/27/2018
Interior of a convenience store

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Convenience store operators are gearing up for a busy summer season as consumers hit the road.

According to the NACS Retailer Sentiment Survey, operators are optimistic about summer sales as food, beverages and healthier snack options continue to grow.

More than three in four convenience retailers expect in-store sales to increase this summer compared to last year, and nearly half expect their fuel sales to increase compared to last summer, according to NACS, The Association for Convenience & Fuel Retailing.

Conversely, only 2 percent of retailers expect in-store sales to decline and only 9 percent expect to see a decline in fuel sales this summer.

Convenience stores sell nearly 80 percent of the fuel purchased in the United States.

The convenience factor rates high among retailers who say they expect sales to grow this summer. Specifically, 73 percent cited their convenient location and 64 percent cited one-stop shopping for food, fuel and restrooms as a reason they expect to grow sales.

NACS Retailer Sentiment Survey Key Findings

  • 77 percent expect in-store sales to increase this summer compared to last year
  • 46 percent expect their fuel sales to increase compared to last summer 
  • 61 percent expect to see energy drink sales increase
  • 49 percent expect an increase in bottled water sales
  • 48 percent expect an increase in beer sales

At Otter Creek Country Stores, in Hiawatha, Iowa, Don Burd said he expects strong summer sales because his store has "the best food, cleanest stores and most courteous staff in the area."

According to the survey respondents, fresh food and healthy options will be central to growing sales during the summer months. Notably, 56 percent said sandwiches and meals will drive sales growth and 35 percent cited healthy packaged snacks.

Fresh foods will drive summer sales at the Eaton Marathon in Graton, Ohio, operated by Armbruster Energy, while hot foods are expected to lead sales at Wood's Food Center in Venice, Fla., according to NACS.

Beverages also will be an important part of the mix in growing sales; 61 percent expect to see energy drink sales increase, 49 percent expect an increase in bottled water sales and 48 percent expect an increase in beer sales.

Retailers also are optimistic on a broader economic level, the survey found.

Approximately three in four retailers are optimistic about the economy (74 percent) and the convenience store industry (77 percent).

Retailers are even more positive about their own business; 83 percent said they are optimistic about their own business prospects over the second quarter of 2018, a strong 10-point increase from a year ago.

The quarterly NACS Retailer Sentiment Survey tracks retailer sentiment related to their businesses, the industry and the economy as a whole. A total of 77 member companies, representing a cumulative 1,917 stores, participated in the April survey.