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    Single Stores Dominate Growth in U.S. C-store Count

    Total industry grew nearly 1 percent in 2014.

    ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Single stores remain the heart of the U.S. convenience store industry, according to the just-released 2015 NACS/Nielsen Convenience Industry Store Count. They make up 60.3 percent of all c-stores in the nation (96,318 in total) and accounted for 83.5 percent of the industry's 2014 store-count growth.

    Overall, the nation's c-store count rose nearly 1 percent to 152,794 stores as of Dec. 31, reported NACS, the Association for Convenience & Fuel Retailing. The connection between fuels and c-store retailers also grew, with 83.5 percent of c-stores (127,588 in total) offering motor fuels. This is a 0.7-percent increase (930 stores) from 2013.

    "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 Steve Loehr, NACS chairman and vice president of operations for La Crosse, Wis.-based Kwik Trip Inc.

    Nielsen data shows that c-stores make up 33.9 percent of U.S. retail outlets, which is significantly higher than the U.S. total of other retail channels. This includes drugstores (41,799 stores), supermarkets/supercenters (41,529 stores) and dollar stores (26,572 stores), NACS reported.

    The top 10 states in c-store count are:

    • Texas (15,434 stores)
    • California (11,403 stores)
    • Florida (9,810 stores)
    • New York (8,247 stores)
    • Georgia (6,766 stores)
    • North Carolina (6,301 stores)
    • Ohio (5,539 stores)
    • Michigan (4,907 stores)
    • Illinois (4,670 stores)
    • Pennsylvania (4,604 stores)

    The growth in 2014 continues a long-term upward trend, as the c-store industry has approximately doubled in size in the past 20 years, NACS concluded. 

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