According to the 2022 NACS/NielsenIQ Convenience Industry Store Count, there are 148,026 convenience stores operating in the United States, a 1.5 percent decrease from a year earlier.
Convenience stores sell an estimated 80 percent of the motor fuels purchased by consumers in the United States. The new store count shows that 116,641 or 78.8 percent sell motor fuels.
There were 4,897 fewer stores selling motor fuels compared to the year prior, but a direct comparison is imprecise because the 2022 store count reflects a slight methodology change for c-stores that sell fuel.
The industry decline was led by a 3.1 percent decrease in single-store operators, which still account for 89,336 or 60.4 percent of all convenience stores. The decline of single-store operators continues a multi-year trend; single-store operators made up a record 63.2 percent of the industry in 2017. Meanwhile, the percentage of single-store operators that sell fuel dropped to 54.6 percent in 2021, the lowest since the metric was tracked in 2005.
The decline in the convenience store count reflects the decline of other retail brick-and-mortar stores except for dollar stores.
In addition, there are gas station/kiosk stores that sell fuel but not enough of an in-store product assortment to be considered convenience stores. Overall, there were 14,826 kiosks in 2021.
The kiosk format continued to decline – down 5.2 percent the past year and 32.9 percent over the past six years as more consumers sought out stores that have robust food and beverage offers.
Despite the fourth straight yearly decline in stores, the overall convenience store count is approximately the same as a decade ago as there were 148,126 stores in 2012.
With the U.S. population at 332.4 million, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, there is one convenience store per every 2,245 people.
“The new store count reflects ongoing changes that are happening in retail as our industry continues to invest in their operations and redefine convenience,” said Chuck Maggelet, NACS vice chairman of research and technology and CEO and chief adventure guide of Maverik Inc.
“Our industry had record in-store sales in 2020 and was equally optimistic about continuing that sales trend in 2021. These opportunities to attract consumers and grow sales require new technologies and often different footprints that were not possible with many of the legacy stores that closed,” he said.
Maggelet also said that approximately one in seven Maverik stores were remodeled or improved in 2021 and that the company expects to do the same again this year.
Texas continues to have the most convenience stores at 15,742 stores, which is more than one in 10 stores in the United States. The remainder of the top 10 is the same from the year prior: California is second at 12,053 stores, followed by Florida at 9,400 stores, New York at 7,848 stores, Georgia at 6,448 stores, North Carolina at 5,690 states, Ohio at 5,537 states, Michigan at 4,819 stores, Pennsylvania at 4,629 stores and Illinois at 4,623 stores.
Texas is the only state in the top 10 that added stores, coming in with 47 new stores. Meanwhile, several states lost stores, with New York at -248 stores, Florida at -219 stores and North Carolina at -200 stores. Alaska has the fewest with 174 stores.
The 2022 NACS/NielsenIQ Convenience Industry Store Count is based on stores in operation as of December 2021.
NACS advances the role of convenience stores as positive economic, social and philanthropic contributors to the communities they serve. NACS has 1,900 retailers and 1,800 supplier members from more than 50 countries.
For more information, visit convenience.org.
For more association news stories from The Shelby Report, click here.