MORNINGTON, Victoria, Australia—The Australian convenience store industry achieved sales growth of 0.8% for the first half of 2020, according to the Australian Association of Convenience Stores (AACS) State of the Industry Half Yearly Report 2020. That growth was helped by a 2% quarterly sales increase in the June quarter.
“The first-half result for the convenience channel, particularly given the circumstances, is very strong and a testament to the quality of service, safe store environment and consistent hard work of the operators and employees in our industry,” said Jeff Rogut, AACS CEO, in a press release.
Nevertheless, just as the pandemic has impacted states differently, so has the convenience channel varied in performance across borders. Over the year-to-date, Victoria recorded a 3.7% decrease in total sales, while New South Wales sales were down 1%. On the flipside, Western Australia achieved significant growth of 9.3% for the half, while South Australia was up 3.4% and Queensland convenience stores recorded sales growth of 3.3%. One area in which Australian c-stores have also seen growth is in coffee sales, the fastest growing category for the third year running.
“Growth has been maintained in many categories, and even though people are staying home more, meaning fuel destinations visits are down, those categories which have been the subject of innovation and which are the future of our industry, including fresh food and coffee, are well-placed to rebound once a sense of normalcy returns,” he said. “The work AACS has done with Government to ensure convenience stores continue to be deemed an essential service has been an important comfort to customers who have relied on our channel for the items they need.”
AACS found that many consumers prefer the convenience store experience in the current climate because of the safe and clean shopping environment on offer, and because stores are less crowded. “Obviously, challenges remain, and the full year result for the industry—like every industry—is likely to be further impacted by the pandemic. But those who work in the industry can be confident that the value proposition the convenience channel provides to consumers is clear,” Rogut said. “If anything, the important role we play in local communities across Australia has been reinforced in these unprecedented times.”