Labor Is a Hot Industry Issue

NACS State of the Industry Summit data revealed key insights into what the industry must do to attract and grow their workforce.

April 24, 2018

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Attendees at the recent NACS State of the Industry Summit heard firsthand how low unemployment and a shrinking labor pool are making it harder than ever to find top talent.

“Everyone knows it is getting harder and harder to find good people,” said NACS Research Committee member Andy Jones, president and CEO of Sprint Food Marts in Augusta, Georgia. “In today’s job market, it is taking 31 days to fill a vacant job. That’s up from 23 days in 2006.”

Despite record in-store sales, direct store operating expenses (DSOE)—encompassing wages, payroll taxes, health-care insurance, card fees, utilities, repairs/maintenance and supplies, as well as several other categories including franchise fees and property taxes—outpaced inside gross profit dollars for the second consecutive year. This trend continues to create challenges for convenience retailers as they look to grow their businesses.

“We must reverse this if our industry is going to survive and thrive in the future,” Jones said.

Beyond sales, convenience stores are an important part of the economy. The convenience and fuel retailing industry employed 2.48 million people in 2017, wages were up 8.3% and the average wage for a store associate increased to $10.19 per hour. Turnover for store associates was 115%, down from 133% in 2016 but a huge increase from the 73% that was reported in 2010 when unemployment was much higher because of the Great Recession. The rise is primarily due to tighter labor markets resulting from being in the seventh year of economic recovery. Turnover for store managers was only 18%, down from 27% the year prior.

Metrics related to turnover are available for purchase in the recently released NACS Compensation Report of 2017 Data. In addition, the NACS State of the Industry Report of 2017 Data is available now to pre-order. Available in June, the report is the convenience and fuel retailing industry’s premier benchmarking tool—delivering insightful, useful information about the industry to retailers maximize their effectiveness and profitability. Reserve your copy today.