A combination of low gas prices, strong consumer confidence and warmer weather is expected to continue the year’s already strong sales at convenience stores into the second quarter of 2017, according to the results of a survey of convenience store owners conducted by NACS.
A sizable percentage of retailers surveyed say that low gas prices have grown sales in 2017: 47% say that low gas prices helped grow in-store sales and 42% say that low gas prices grew fuel sales over the first three months of the year. Convenience stores sell 80% of the fuel purchased in the United States.
A full 80% of convenience retailers expect in-store sales to increase this summer compared to last year, and 57% expect their fuel sales to increase compared to last summer.
“Low gas prices will encourage increased traffic on the roads and in our stores,” said Terry Handley with Casey’s General Stores (Ankeny, IA).
Other factors also point to stronger sales at convenience stores. John Clark at Alpine Mart (Stowe, VT) expects sales to increase because of strong consumer confidence and the warmer weather. And strong employment numbers also will be good for sales, said Marc Strauch at Cameron Park Petroleum (Folsom, CA).
Approximately three in four retailers are optimistic about the economy (76%), the convenience store industry (73%) and their own business prospects (73%) over the next three months. This retailer optimism mirrors consumer optimism. A record 61% of consumers said they were optimistic about the economy, according to the March 2017 NACS Consumer Fuels Survey.