Convenience Stores See Increased Traffic, Sales Lift in Q2

HOUSTON -- In spite of a still sluggish economy, convenience stores saw traffic, sales and average visits increase in the second quarter of 2010, according to The NPD Group.

NPD's market research found c-store traffic was up 8 percent and sales increased 11 percent in the quarter ending June 2010, compared to the same quarter a year ago.

The average number of visits consumers made to a c-store in an average 30-day period grew to 6.4 in the second quarter of 2010, up from 6.1 visits for the same quarter in 2009, according to NPD's Convenience Store Monitor, which tracks the consumer purchasing behavior of more than 49,000 U.S. convenience store shoppers in the U.S.

Convenient location and "in-and-out quickly" continue to be the top two reasons consumers visit convenience stores, NPD reported. With these as the driving factors for c-store visits, store-only visits are increasing while pay-at-the-pump visits are steady. Pay-at-the-pump plus store visits are declining.

"Convenience and the need for grab-and-go will continue to be motivators for c-store visits, and after sharp visit declines in 2009, because of these continuing needs, we're seeing visits rebound in 2010," said David Portalatin, industry analyst for NPD's convenience store research. "Less volatile gas prices are also helping the channel, although minimal growth in miles driven and competition from grab-and-go offerings from other retail channels still pose a threat to convenience stores."

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