The latest data from Nielsen shows the number of U.S. convenience stores continues to expand and last year set a new record with 149,220 units.
That figures is up 1,094 units from the prior year so the increase amounts to only a 0.7% gain, according to the 2013 National Association of Convenience Stores/Nielsen Convenience Industry Store Count. Even so, the growth is noteworthy at a time when overall expansion of selling space in the broader retailer industry has remained stagnant even though the recession officially ended in 2009.
"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 consumers," said Dave Carpenter, chairman of the NACS trade group and president and CEO of Denver-based J.D. Carpenter Companies Inc.
The convenience retailing industry continues to be dominated by single-store operators, which now account for nearly 63% of all convenience stores