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    2016 Results So Far Bode Well for C-store Industry: Part 1

    Mid-Year Report Card shows low fuel prices driving strong in-store sales.

    By Don Longo, Convenience Store News

    NATIONAL REPORT — Total convenience store industry retail sales for the first half of 2016 were approximately $272 billion, about 6 percent lower than last year, according to the annual Convenience Store News Mid-Year Report Card. But, like last year, the decline is attributable to lower gas prices as motor fuel sales fell almost 12 percent for the six-month period ended June 30, 2016.

    The good news is that in-store sales of merchandise and foodservice remain strong, rising 3.1 percent for the first half of this year, just slightly under the percentage gain of a year ago.

    In-store sales for the first half of 2016 were estimated to be a little more than $113 billion, an increase from almost $110 billion during the first half of 2015. In-store sales were only $106 billion during the first half of 2014, when fuel prices first started to go south.

    The average price of a gallon of fuel has fallen from $3.54 in the first half of 2014, to $2.48 per gallon last summer, to $2.12 per gallon at mid-year 2016. With the lower prices, the amount of gas being pumped at convenience stores has increased in each of the past two years, rising 2.8 percent at the halfway point of 2015, followed by another 3.2-percent increase this year so far — to just over 75 billion gallons.

    Inside the store, merchandise sales were up 2.7 percent, to about $95 billion, for the first half of this year, an increase slightly less than the 3.2 percent achieved at last year’s mid-point. However, this is much better than the meager 1.6-percent gain of mid-point 2014.

    Foodservice sales continue to drive much of the convenience store industry’s success. For the first half of this year, foodservice sales grew by 5.6 percent to more than $18 billion. That’s on top of last year’s robust gain of 5.2 percent at the mid-point, and nearly as good as the remarkable 6.2-percent gain of mid-point 2014.

    Click through the charts above to see more results.

    And stay tuned for Parts 2-6 of the 2016 Convenience Store News Mid-Year Report Card:
    Part 2: In-store Category Analysis
    Part 3: Cigarettes & Other Tobacco Products
    Part 4: Packaged Beverages & Beer
    Part 5: Candy & Snacks
    Part 6: Prepared Foods & Dispensed Beverages

    By Don Longo, Convenience Store News
    • About Don Longo Don Longo is editorial director of EnsembleIQ's Convenience Store News. He has covered retailing for more than 30 years as a reporter, editor and publisher. Previously, he spearheaded the editorial efforts at a variety of business publications focused on mass, drug, grocery and specialty store retailing. Convenience Store News won American Business Media’s Jesse H. Neal Award for Best Issue of the Year in 2008 and 2012. Longo has won numerous other editorial awards over his career and is frequently quoted in the national and local news media on the subjects of retailing and consumer trends.

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