NATIONAL REPORT — The COVID-19 pandemic affected every aspect of the convenience store industry in March, from safety practices to regulations to potential acquisitions. In the latest Industry Roundup, we present the top 10 most-read stories for the month of March, based on reader views:
1) Homeland Security Recognizes C-stores as Essential Businesses
The Department of Homeland Security released updated COVID-19 guidance identifying the essential critical infrastructure workforce during the ongoing national emergency. Among them: convenience stores. NACS, the association representing the c-store industry, said it hopes and expects that state and local governments heed the department's decisions and do not interfere with businesses that the department deems to be critical.
2) What Precautions Are C-store Retailers Taking for COVID-19 Coronavirus?
Among the actions being taken, retailers are stepping up their cleaning, personal hygiene and sanitizing procedures; providing checklists to help store associates follow proper safety procedures to prevent the spread of the virus; and sending physical and digital notices to their customers about efforts to protect their health and well-being.
3) C-stores Cease Self-Serve Food & Beverages Due to Coronavirus
Kwik Trip/Kwik Star, Kum & Go and 7-Eleven were among the retailers who suspended multiple offerings while shifting others to prepackaged or employee-served.
4) How the Coronavirus Is Beginning to Impact the C-store Industry
With convenience stores selling roughly 80 percent of gas in the United States, one byproduct of the virus is being reflected in prices at the pump. According to AAA, a recent decrease in crude prices has been driven by the growing impact of the coronavirus.
5) C-stores Remain Committed to Meeting Customer Needs Amid Coronavirus
As lawmakers across the country take steps to flatten the curve of COVID-19, convenience store retailers are assuring they are in this together.
"We recognize coronavirus (COVID-19) is a serious concern to our customers. As a neighborhood store and convenient delivery provider in so many communities, 7‑Eleven is monitoring the situation closely to prioritize the health of our customers, employees and franchisees across more than 9,000 U.S. stores," said 7-Eleven Inc. President and CEO Joe DePinto.
6) C-store Chains Close Stores After Workers Test Positive for COVID-19
Pennsylvania-based Wawa Inc. temporarily closed roughly a dozen c-stores after an associate in each of the locations tested posted for COVID-19. In addition, a Circle K store in St. Charles, Mo., temporarily closed for cleaning after one its associates also tested positive for COVID-19.
7) Exclusive Research Shows Coronavirus Pandemic Is Driving Grocery Shoppers to Convenience Stores
Fifteen percent of shoppers said they are more likely to shop at convenience stores for groceries due to the pandemic, according to a new study conducted by Convenience Store News' parent company, EnsembleIQ. Fielded March 13-15, the survey was conducted among 1,001 primary household grocery shoppers in the United States.
8) 7-Eleven Scraps Bid to Acquire Speedway
Marathon Petroleum Corp. (MPC) and Seven & i Holdings Inc. are no longer working on a deal. According to Bloomberg, several factors played into the end of negotiations, including the new coronavirus and Seven & i concerns over valuations.
9) FDA Asks Court to Delay PMTA Deadline for Vapor Products
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is taking steps to push back the court-mandated date for companies to submit premarket tobacco applications (PMTAs) for recently deemed tobacco products. Citing "the exceptional circumstances presented by the global coronavirus outbreak," the agency proposed moving the deadline from May 12 to Sept. 9.
10) More C-store Industry Retailers Give Raises & Bonuses to Employees Amid COVID-19 Crisis
As many workers across the United States are staying home, convenience retail employees continue to keep convenience stores going. In turn, many c-store chains are recognizing their efforts with increased wages, bonuses and other perks. Casey's General Stores Inc., Enmarket, Pilot Co., RaceTrac and Sheetz Inc. are just the latest retailers to make moves to help their team members get through the COVID-19 crisis.