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The Convenience Store Conveniently Draining Our Wallet

The Convenience Store Conveniently Draining Our Wallet
Posted April 2nd, 2014 @ 1:01pm by Chuck LaTour, WOOD Radio news team

The corner gas station.  How much of your spending is done on non-gas related expenses at that corner store.  

U.S. convenience stores reached record in-store sales in 2013, with sales climbing 2.4% to $204 billion. Combined with motor fuels sales of $491.5 billion, overall convenience store sales were $695.5 billion, according to figures released today by the National Association of Convenience Stores.

Of all things inside the gas station / convenience store, in-store sales in 2013 were led by continued growth in prepared food and commissary.   Although the industry realized strong sales, store-operating costs increased at a faster rate than sales.
The biggest increase in costs was wages and payroll taxes. The industry saw a dramatic 19.5% increase in employees, a function of the industry's continuing embrace of foodservice, which requires more labor to manage.

Convenience stores also account for 34.3% of all retail outlets in the United States, according to Nielsen Research, which is significantly higher than the U.S. total of other retail channels including drugstores, supermarket/supercenter and dollar stores.

But what about gasoline.  Motor fuels continued to drive revenue dollars, but in-store sales drove profit dollars. Overall, 70.7% of total sales were motor fuels, but motor fuels only accounted for 35.6% of profit dollars. Motor fuels gross margins were 18.5 cents per gallon before expenses, or 5.3%.

Here's how in-store sales were broken down in 2013:

 Tobacco (cigarettes and other tobacco products): 37.0% of in-store sales

 Foodservice (prepared and commissary food; hot, cold and dispensed beverages):  18.0%

 Packaged beverages (soda, alternative beverages, sports drinks, juices, water,  teas, etc.): 15.5%

 Center of the store (candy; sweet, salty and alternative snacks): 9.9%

 Beer: 7.9%

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