Convenience stores make up 34% of all US retail outlets

The number of convenience stores in the United States grew 1 percent in 2014, totaling 152,794 stores. Convenience stores now account for 33.9 percent of all retail outlets in the country, according to the 2015 NACS/Nielsen Convenience Industry Store Count.

Comparing it to other retail channels in the country, there are about 41,799 drug stores, 41,529 supermarkets/supercenters and 26,572 dollar stores.

And the role of the convenience store continues to grow as 83.5 percent of them now sell motor fuels, an increase of 0.7 percent over 2013. And 63 percent of these stores are owned by single-store operators.

"Our continued growth, even during a sluggish economy, shows that our core offer of convenience resonates more than ever with our customers, whether they visit us for a fuel fill-up, quick snack or drink, or stop by for fill-in groceries or healthy take-out meals," said NACS Chairman Steve Loehr, VP of operations support at LaCrosse, Wisconsin-based Kwik Trip.

Texas tops the country for the highest convenience store count, 15,434. Followed by California, 11,403; Florida, 9,810; New York, 8,247; and Georgia, 6,766.

At the close of 1984, the convenience store count in the United States was 85,300, in 1994 it was 98,200 and in 2004 it was 138,205 stores.

Convenience stores have made great strides in the past few years in staying on top of the latest consumer technology and trends to both attract and retain customer loyalty. Just this week, convenience store chain Wawa announced the rollout of its new mobile app featuring a payment and rewards function. And last fall, gasoline and convenience store retailer Thorntons teamed up with Paytronix Systems to implement a new Refreshing Rewards customer loyalty program.

In addition, last year 7-Eleven introduced a coffee rewards program available on the retailer's mobile app. The announcement came just one week after the company expanded its digital loyalty program to more than 2,000 store locations.

For more:
-See this Nielsen press release

Related stories:
Wawa rolls out mobile payment, loyalty app
Thorntons launches new customer loyalty program across 178 locations
7-Eleven launches coffee rewards program
7-Eleven expands loyalty program to 2,600 stores
Is Albertsons bringing loyalty back?

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