MT. WAVERLEY, Victoria – It’s a trend that’s becoming the norm: The Australian convenience industry has trumped the growth of the grocery channel for the fourth year running. Figures unveiled recently from the annual State of the Industry Report, compiled by the Australasian Association of Convenience Stores (AACS), show that convenience in-store sales grew by 3.7% over the course of 2015, while fuel volume increased 1.8%.
Convenience store sales have grown at a faster rate than the grocery channel each year since 2012. “Our operators and their many employees have every reason to have confidence in convenience as the industry’s focus on innovation in recent times pays dividends in terms of sales performance and customer service outcomes,” said CEO Jeff Rogut.
Though down slightly on the 2014 result, value growth for tobacco was still in positive territory at 5.2% with the category contributing around $3 billion in sales in convenience stores in 2015. Fuel sales volumes grew in 2015, up 1.8% for the year as convenience stores continue to be the primary destination for fuel purchases.
Beverages are a consistent strong performer for convenience stores, and 2015 was no different, with the industry increasingly tapping into Australians’ love of coffee. The solid 7.9% growth in dedicated iced coffee and outstanding 26% growth in hot drinks offset declines in energy drinks, soda, sports, water and frozen carbonated beverage sales to ensure continued strong performance in the ready-to-drink category.
On-the-go food’s accelerating 13% growth in 2015 was led by three core categories: fresh cakes (28.0%), hot pastry (39.8%) and sandwiches (21.5%). Sandwich sales grew 9.2% in 2015, up from a marginal gain of just 0.1% a year prior.