Total convenience store sales set a record high in 2011, according to data released by the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS).
Convenience store sales in 2011 totaled $681.9 billion, or one out of every 22 dollars of the overall $15.04 trillion U.S. gross domestic product, NACS reported. In-store sales grew 2.4% to a record $195 billion.
In-store sales growth was driven primarily by gains in several beverage categories and foodservice. Alternative beverages, including energy drinks, were up 15.3%; sports drinks grew 13.9%; and cold dispensed beverage sales were up 12.3%. Several beer subcategories also saw strong growth, including super-premium beer, up 10.6%, and craft beer, up 13.9%.
A smaller part of the industry’s 2011 sales growth can be attributed to an increase in store count, according to NACS. The number of U.S. convenience stores grew 1.2% over the past year to a record 148,341 locations, according to the NACS/
Nielsen TDLinx Convenience Industry Store Count, released this January. Convenience stores now account for 34.6% of all retail outlets, according to Nielsen’s figures.
“Our strong performance in 2011 shows that our industry’s core convenience offer – especially one-stop shopping and speed of service for refreshments, food and fuel – continues to resonate with our customers and attract shoppers to our stores,” NACS Chairman Tom Robinson, president of Santa Clara, Calif.-based Robinson Oil Corp., said.
More than 80% of in-store sales last year came from the top five categories: cigarettes (38.1% of in-store sales), foodservice, including dispensed beverages (16.9%), packaged beverages (14.3%). beer (7.3%), and other tobacco