Last year’s 1 percent decline in industry stores was only the third decline posted in the past 15 years, according to figures compiled by TDLinx, a sister Nielsen company to CSNews Online. That decline was partly attributed to historically high fuel prices, which caused many independent dealers to shut down. The blame for this year’s drop can be placed squarely on the economy. Slower consumer spending, changing driving habits and tight credit markets —which made it difficult to sell distressed sites—all are factors in the continued store decline.
The total store count for the top 100 c-store chains declined 338 units for the 12-month period ended June 30. That 1.2 percent drop mirrors the overall decline in store count that the convenience industry experienced last year and continued to suffer during the first half of 2009.