ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- The number of convenience stores in the United States decreased 1% in 2008, from 146,294 stores to 144,875 stores, according to the new NACS/Nielsen TDLinx Official Industry Store Count of U.S. c-stores as of Dec. 31, 2008.
The store count will serve as the foundation for many of the industry metrics that will be presented at the NACS State of the Industry Summit in partnership with CSP this week (through April 8) in Chicago. Watch for CSP Daily News coverage of the SOI event.
U.S. C-Stores (as of 12/31/08):
2008: 144,875 2007: 146,294 2006: 145,119 2005: 140,655 2004: 138,205 The 1% decline marks only the third time in the last 15 years that the industry's store count has decreased. The count also declined in 1994 and 2003.
The convenience retailing industry has seen remarkable growth over the last three decades with nearly triple the number of c-stores today than 30 years ago (50,400 stores in 1978). In 1987, the c-store count topped 100,000 for the first time (100,200 stores); in 1977, the c-store count stood at 43,200 stores. In 2007, the number of one-store owners topped 90,000 for the first time with 90,683 stores, or 62% of all c-stores in the United States.
The convenience retailing industry continues to be dominated by single-store operators, accounting for 62% of the industry; however, these "mom-and-pop" stores also are responsible for the bulk of the decline in total U.S. store count.
Overall, the number of U.S. c-stores declined by 1,419 stores; the single-store count fell by 1,116 for a total single-store count of 89,657.
A "convenience store" is defined as a store that includes a broad merchandise mix, extended hours of operation and a minimum of 500 stock-keeping units (SKUs).
U.S C-Stores Selling Motor Fuels
2008: 114,673 or 79% of all c-stores 2007: 115,157 or 79% 2006: 114,974 or 79% 2005: 112,207 or 80% 2004: 110,895 or 80% Gas Station/Kiosks
2008: 19,926 2007: 19,935 006: 19,713 Gas station/kiosks are fueling stations that have smaller kiosk stores and do not meet the official NACS/TDLinx definition of a c-store.
Top States for C-Stores (as of 12/31/08)
Texas: 14,112 stores California: 10,298 Florida: 9,303 New York: 7,580 Georgia: 6,320 North Carolina: 6,130 Ohio: 5,149 Michigan: 4,824 Illinois: 4,541 Virginia: 4,487 The bottom three states are Alaska (198 stores), Delaware (315) and Wyoming (350).
U.S. Channel Count Comparison (as of 12/31/2008)
C-Stores: 144,875 Supermarkets: 35,394 Drug Stores: 37,700 Mass Merchandiser/Dollar Stores: 26,568 Wholesale Clubs: 1,184 Despite extreme price and profit volatility, c-store retailers still consider motor fuel operations to be important. Nationwide, 79% of all c-stores sell motor fuel. At least 95% of c-stores sell motor fuel in North Dakota, Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota and Kansas. New Jersey (38%) and Oregon (59%) have the smallest percentage of stores selling motor fuels; these two states also mandate full service for motor fuels sales.
"The decrease in stores, particularly single-store operators, is reflective of the slimor negativemotor fuel profit margins that retailers faced during the first half of 2008," National Association of Convenience Stores vice chairman of research Greg Parker, CEO of The Parker Cos., Savannah, Ga., told NACS. "Single-store operators were particularly vulnerable to extended downturns, and this led to stores closing or becoming too weakened to recover with the stronger fuel margins seen over the second half of the year."