SCHAUMBURG, Ill. -- The number of convenience stores in the United States grew less than 1% over the past year, and as of Dec. 31, 2007, the tally stands at 146,294, said the just-released NACS/TDLinx Convenience Industry Store Count. There were 145,119 in 2006; 140,655 in 2005; 138,205 in 2004; and 130,659 in 2003, according to the data.
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.
Despite the small change in net total store count, there was still more than 31% change in the channel. More than 7,700 stores closed, 8,300 opened and more than 43,000 stores changed ownership in 2007.
The increase in stores in 2007 was a result of a greater number of stores opening than closing, as well as the non-convenience stores evolving to fit the NACS/TDLinx conventional definition of a c-store, the report said. The definition it used—stores that include a broad merchandise mix, extended hours of operation and a minimum of 500 stock-keeping units (SKUs).
Top States for C-Stores (as of Dec. 31, 2007):
1. Texas: 14,179 stores.
2. California: 10,294.
3. Florida: 9,424.
4. New York: 7,780.
5. Georgia: 6,384.
6. North Carolina: 6,255.
7. Ohio: 5,176.
8. Michigan: 4,843.
9. Illinois: 4,588.
10. Virginia: 4,529.
Despite shrinking profit margins on fuels, c-store retailers still consider motor fuel operations to be important. The percentage of U.S. c-stores selling motor fuel has remained fairly stable over the last few years: 115,157, or 79% of all c-stores, in 2007; 114,974, or 79% of all c-stores, in 2006; 112,207, or 80% of all c-stores, in 2005; 110,895, or 80% of all c-stores, in 2004; and 106,240, or 81% of all c-stores, in 2003.
Texas reports the most stores selling motor fuel, 11,885 stores, or 84% of all c- stores in Texas. In Iowa, Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska and South Dakota, 96% of c-stores sell motor fuel. New Jersey (38%) and Oregon (58%) have the smallest percentage of stores selling motor fuels; these two states also mandate full service for motor fuels sales. Other states with low percentages include Massachusetts (44%), New York (53%), Rhode Island (57%).
In 2007, there were 19,935 gas station/kiosks, versus 19,713 in 2006. Gas station/kiosks are fueling stations that have smaller kiosk stores and do not meet the official NACS/TDLinx definition of a c-store.
C-store industry sales reached $569 billion, or more than 4% of the country's gross domestic product in 2007.
But the industry continues to be dominated by small "mom-and-pop" stores, those that are owned and operated as a one-store business or franchise. In 2007, the number of one-store owners topped 90,000 for the first time with 90,683 stores, or 62% of all U.S. c-stores. Less than 14% (19,833 stores) are stores owned and operated by companies with more than 500 stores.
TDLinx Channel Database Record Counts:
Trade Channel Stores/Outlets:
Supermarket/Supercenter: 34,967 Superette: 13,689 C-Store: 146,294 Gas Station/Kiosk: 19,935 Drug: 37,537 Wholesale Club: 1,152 Mass Merchandiser/Dollar: 26,344 Category Killer: 84,635 Liquor Store: 42,729 Cigarette Outlet: 8,514
Total Retail: 415,796
Dining: 175,575 Bars/ Nightclubs: 79,918 Lodging: 14,495 Recreation: 46,484 Transportation: 603 Caterer: 5,615 Military: 955
Total On-Premise: 323,645
Total Database: 739,441
Source: TDLinx, December 2007
The Nielsen Co. has announced that consumer packaged goods (CPG) manufacturers and c-store retailers will have access to c-store sales data classified according to the National Association of Convenience Stores-defined hierarchy of product categories. Nielsen is the first to offer clients access to its convenience channel insights according to the NACS category definitions, it said, providing more clarity and consistent classifications, which allow for more effective discussions between CPG manufacturers and convenience retailers.
The NACS category definitions hierarchy is considered the industry standard and classifies c-store stock keeping units (SKUs) within product category and subcategory definitions. Developed more than 20 years ago—but refined over time—to organize sales and purchase information by merchandise category, the NACS category definitions serve as a framework for c-store retailers and manufacturers to have effective discussions regarding market performance comparisons and establish performance benchmarks.