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NATIONAL REPORT — The convenience store industry's suppliers, wholesalers, distributors and brokers are fairly optimistic about 2017, according to the results of the second-annual Convenience Store News Supplier Forecast Study.
When asked to consider the upcoming year for their particular product category, 81 percent reported a positive outlook, while just 5.5 percent hold a negative outlook, and 13.5 percent say they are neutral.
The c-store industry's ability to thrive contributes to their sentiment. Compared to the other retail channels they serve, 86.1 percent view the convenience channel positively, compared to 63.3 percent for grocery, 50 percent for mass merchandisers, and 39.3 percent for drugstores.
Numerous factors were cited for the positive outlook: Consumer spending growth was the most named at 27.8 percent, followed by retailer unit expansion (22.2 percent), new product development (19.4 percent), and retailer consolidation (13.9 percent).
New market trends, new product and foodservice offerings, strong consumer demand, and a change in the presidential administration were other cited reasons for optimism.
One participant hopes to see President-elect Donald Trump "focus on running this country like a business and changing the way politics works for the people, not besides the people;" and making the government "more service focused, lean and productive."
Other respondents, though, raised concerns about the elimination of health care for low-wage workers, immigration policies that might negatively affect their employees, and the sheer unpredictability of the incoming administration.
"Yes, the country needs change from status quo, but his administration is not the change we need," said one participant. "His disruption will ruin the economy and the nation's status."
For the full results of our 2017 Forecast Study, including projections by product category, look in the January issue of Convenience Store News, hitting desks soon.