The old-fashioned gas station is now almost extinct.
Instead, the convenience store, often with gas pumps, has
become one of the fastest growing segments of the retail
industry. According to the 2013 National Association of
Convenience Stores/Nielsen Convenience Industry
Store Count, there were 149,220 convenience stores in
the U.S. at the end of 2012–up by 1,094 units, a 0.7% gain
and a new record. C-store locations now account for 34.8%
of all retail outlets in this country.
Our continued growth shows that our core
offer of convenience resonates with customers,
whether a fill up, quick snack or drink or for fill-
in groceries or take-out meals for time-starved
And while the C-store industry continues to
be dominated by single-store owners (63%),
that is changing rapidly. The fastest growing
segment is operators with 500 or more units; those
companies grew by 8.9% in 2012, compared to the 1%
gain in units operated by independents.
C-stores have certainly evolved over the last few years.
More and more are offering fresh food and many now
incorporate restaurant chains like Subway within their
footprints. The latest innovation spreading through the
industry is the drive-thru, putting the stores in direct
competition with fast-food chains like McDonald’s and
Unfortunately, the industry has been slow to embrace
advertising in general and TV in particular to boost sales
until now. But that could change as larger operators start
to compete against each other in the same markets.