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NDP Group and IRI both concluded review of the convenience store channel and agree that convenience stores with fresh prepared food and loyalty programs edify sales and brand positioning. With over 149,000 units, chain convenience stores are garnering share while increasing frequency faster than independent convenience stores.
In IRI’s Times & Trends report “Convenience stores: Keep the Core; Appeal to More” identifies that successful operators are adding “good for you” products, albeit they are adding them next to candy bars. Customers are experimenting with the new products and rewarding operators with return visits and driving the rapid adoption of “better for you” products. The IRI report found “When compared to grocery and drug stores, convenience stores were the only channel that enjoyed both dollar and unit sales growth in 2012.”
The NPD Group report found consumers are leading the way. NPD found that consumer traffic increased by 2 percent in the first quarter of 2013, compared to the same period a year ago leading to a 6 percent increase in spending during that period.
In addition the NPD reports showed that customer visit frequency also grew quarter-over-quarter to 6.1 visits in a 30 day period with 48.8 percent of the U.S. population reporting visiting a convenience store in the last 30 days.
Looking like restaurants “7 percent of conventional c-store shoppers citing rewards or store loyalty as a reason for choosing a specific chain,… 5 percent of shoppers who list coupons, discounts sales or promotions as a chain selection reason, one in 10 c-store shoppers now select a store for deals”.