The convenience store
industry had record sales of $700.3 billion in 2012, with in-store sales
increasing 2.2% to reach a record $199.3 billion, and motor fuels sales
increasing 2.9% to a record $501.0 billion, according to figures
announced last week by NACS.
In-store sales growth was driven by
double-digit sales gains in several subcategories: alternative snacks
including meat snacks and health, energy, and protein bars (12.2%);
liquor, a relatively small subcategory (11.6%); cold dispensed beverages
(11.3%); and sweet snacks (10.3%).
Beyond sales, convenience
stores are an important part of the economy. They employed 1.84 million
people and generated $171 billion in federal, state, and local taxes in
2012. Overall, convenience stores sales represent 4.5% of the entire
$15.68 trillion U.S. gross domestic product—one out of every 22 dollars.
numbers demonstrate that Americans turn to us for their daily needs,”
said NACS Chairman Dave Carpenter, president and CEO of J.D. Carpenter
Companies Inc. “We are a vital part of Americans’ daily lives and the
U.S. economy. We also continue to innovate and deliver on our promise of
providing fast, one-stop shopping to consumers, whether they are on the
road or in their communities.”
Convenience store pretax profits
reached a record $7.2 billion in 2012, but taken as a percent of total
sales, profits only moved from 1.027% to 1.028% of total sales.
fuels continued to drive sales dollars, but in-store sales drove profit
dollars. Overall, 71.5% of total sales were motor fuels, but motor
fuels only accounted for 35.0% of profit dollars. Motor fuels gross
margins decreased from 18.2 cents to 17.8 cents per gallon before
expenses, and also dipped on a percentage basis, falling from 5.23% to
4.94%, the lowest that they have been on a percentage basis in decades.
sales and profits were strong, there are concerns for the convenience
retailing industry. Total credit and debit card fees hit a record $11.2
billion and surpassed overall convenience store industry profits for the
seventh straight year. Overall, card fees increased 1.5%, a much slower
pace than the double-digit increases that were routine the past decade.
Implementation of new debit card swipe fees limits played a significant
role in reducing escalating card fees. However, card fees still were
significant. Just looking at motor fuels sales, credit and debit card
fees added 5.1 cents to every gallon of gasoline sold at convenience
stores in 2012. Beyond card fees, several other expense lines saw
increases, led by health insurance costs, which rose 6.3%.
Here’s how in-store sales broke down in 2012:
Tobacco (cigarettes and OTP): 40.7% of in-store sales
Foodservice (prepared and commissary food; hot, cold and dispensed beverages): 15.8%
Center of the store (candy; sweet, salty, and alternative snacks): 10.4%
foodservice was the category that drove profits, accounting for 27.1%
of gross profit dollars. While tobacco products constituted 40.7% of
in-store revenue dollars, they accounted for only 21.0% of gross margin
dollars. Packaged beverages were third, accounting for 18.8% of gross
The industry’s 2012 metrics are based on the NACS
State of the Industry survey powered by its wholly owned subsidiary
CSX, the industry’s largest online database of financial and operating
data. Complete data and analysis will be released in June in the NACS
State of the Industry Report of 2012 Data. (NACS: www.nacsonline.com)