In-store sales for convenience stores are trending upward in 2017, a report released Wednesday by the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) found. The strength—mainly the result of a rise in food sales—has generated optimism throughout the industry.
The NACS Retailer Sentiment Survey, which polled 90 domestic companies and their network of 1,778 stores, found that 60% of convenience stores experienced higher in-store sales over the first nine months of 2017 than during the same period of 2016.
Only 20% reported lower numbers during this stretch.
“While retailers attributed several reasons for both strong sales and optimism, an increased emphasis on fresh food sales was most often cited,” read a statement accompanying the report. “Pride C-Stores Inc. (Columbia City, Ind.) is placing a greater emphasis on prepared foods, Kwik Trip (La Crosse, Wis.) continues to grow its hot foods program, and Cameron Park Petroleum (Folsom, Calif.) is experiencing strong sales with its fresh sandwich program.”
The report also found that increased motor fuel sales contributed to the rise in 35% of stores during this segment with 27% reporting a drop in this category.
The growth has led to 75% of surveyed retailers expressing optimism about how their store will perform in the fourth quarter of 2017.
About the same amount are also bullish on the overall economy during the year’s final quarter.
“More than three in four (76%) say that they are optimistic about the economy in the fourth quarter, a significant increase from this time a year ago when only 53% of retailers were optimistic about the economy,” reads the statement. “Additionally, 73% of retailers say they are optimistic about the convenience store industry’s prospects leading into 2018.”
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