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U.S. Convenience Store Channel Sees Boost in Traffic and a Double-Digit Sales Lift in Second Quarter

Houston, TX (September 28, 2010)—In spite of a still sluggish economy things are looking up in the convenience store (c-store) channel as traffic, sales, and average visits increased in the second quarter of 2010, according to The NPD Group, a leading market research company. NPD's convenience store market research finds that c-store store traffic was up by 8 percent, and sales increased 11 percent in the quarter ending June 2010 compared to the same quarter a year ago.

In addition to a traffic and sales boost in the second quarter, NPD's Convenience Store Monitor, which tracks the consumer purchasing behavior of more than 49,000 convenience store shoppers in the U.S., reports that the average number of visits consumers made to a c-store in an average 30-day period grew to 6.4 in the second quarter of 2010 from 6.1 visits for the same quarter in 2009.

Source: The NPD Group/Convenience Store Monitor, quarter ending June 2010

A recently released NPD report entitled Food, Beverages, and C-Stores, which combines the company's prepared foods, beverage and packaged snack foods consumption research with Convenience Store Monitor data, points out that a "convenience location" and "in-and-out quickly" continue to be the top two reasons why consumers visit convenience stores. With these as the driving factors for c-store visits, store only visits are increasing while pay-at-the-pump visits are steady, and dual visits, pay-at-the-pump plus store, are declining.

"Convenience and the need for grab-and-go will continue to be motivators for c-store visits, and after sharp visit declines in 2009, because of these continuing needs, we're seeing visits rebound in 2010," says David Portalatin, industry analyst for NPD's convenience store research. "Less volatile gas prices are also helping the channel, although minimal growth in miles driven and competition from grab-and-go offerings from other retail channels still pose a threat to convenience stores."

Note: David Portalatin will be presenting key shopper trends for 2011 at the upcoming NACS (National Association of Convenience Stores) Show, October 6. http://www.nacsonline.com/NACSShow

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