The c-store industry is almost twice as big as it was 30 years ago and overall store count continued to expand in 2015.
The U.S. convenience store count increased to 154,195 stores as of Dec. 31, 2015, a 0.9% increase (1,401 stores) from the year prior, according to the 2016 NACS/Nielsen Convenience Industry Store Count.
Within the retail universe that Nielsen tracks, convenience stores account for 34.2% of all outlets in the United States, which is significantly higher than the U.S. total of other retail channels including superettes, supermarket and supercenters (51,055 stores), drug stores (41,969 stores) and dollar stores (27,378 stores).
Overall, 80.7% of convenience stores (124,374) sell motor fuels.
“Our continued growth shows that our industry’s core offer of convenience resonates with time-starved customers, whether they are searching for a fuel fill-up, a quick and healthy snack, a refreshing drink or for fill-in groceries or take-out meals,” NACS Chairman Jack Kofdarali, president of Corona, California-based J&T Management Inc.
The convenience retailing industry continues to be dominated by single-store operators, which account for 63.1% of all convenience stores (97,359 stores total) and 74.3% of store growth in 2015.
Among the states, Texas continues to lead in store count with 15,607 stores. The rest of the top 10 states for convenience stores are California (11,540), Florida (9,909), New York (8,446), Georgia (6,765), North Carolina (6,330), Ohio (5,605), Michigan, (4,880), Illinois (4,732) and Pennsylvania (4,706), the same top 10 as 2015. All states experienced year-over-year increases with the exception of Georgia (-1 store) and Michigan (-27 stores).
The bottom three states in terms of store count are Alaska (206 stores), Wyoming (357) and Delaware (350).
The convenience retailing industry has roughly doubled in size over the last three decades. At year-end 1985, the store count was 90,900 stores, at year-end 1995 the store count was 101,100 stores and at year-end 2005 the store count was 140,665 stores.