Convenience continues to fuel expansion
With so many retailers vowing to save shoppers time and eliminate friction from the store experience, retailers focused squarely on convenience grew the fastest in 2017, according to new data from the NACS/Nielsen Convenience Industry Store Count report.
The number of convenience stores reach a new high of 154,958, up 0.3% or 423 units, from the 2016 year end total of 154,535 at the end of 2016.
The dollar store channel grew the fastest, up 5.2% or 1,500 units, to 30,332 locations compared to 28,832 in 2016.
The supermarket channel contracted slightly last year, dropping 0.11% or 57 locations to 51,134 location. The drug channel saw the biggest decline, dipping 1.07% or 467 locations, to 154,958 locations.
“Convenience stores saw solid growth in 2017 due to an increased focus on innovation, improved customer experience, assortment variation and healthy investments in food services," said Jeanne Danubio, executive vice president of retail lead markets at Nielsen. “All of these factors have enabled convenience stores to meet the needs of consumers, stretching far beyond the pump. This shift must continue to further expand c-store's relevance in today's changing retail landscape. As more retailers across channels try to cater to convenience seeking consumers, c-stores will need to continue to innovate and evolve and grow to stay ahead of the curve.”