Regaining Control

The industry finally sees some relief in credit card fees

Convenience store retailers are managing the expense side of the business very well, as direct-store operating expenses rose by only 3.6 percent, or $16,194, per store last year. By comparison, the average c-store operator in 2011 saw a 6.9-percent increase in operating expenses.

Relief finally arrived in regards to credit card fees, often referred to as swipe fees. After years of enduring double-digit increases, these fees rose by just 2 percent per store last year, or an additional $1,400. In 2011, swipe fees increased by 18.3 percent or an extra $10,939 per store.

On the downside, though, the average c-store retailer still paid $71,964 in credit card fees last year, which equated to 13.51 percent of gross profits and 1.48 percent of total sales.

Overall, operating expenses totaled $470,838 per store last year, of which $270,832 was labor costs. Operating expenses equaled 88.42 percent of gross profits and 9.71 percent of sales.

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