Convenience Retailers Report Higher Sales So Far in 2023


ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Heading into the last five months of 2023, convenience retailers report that sales are up year-to-year, and they are optimistic about continuing that trend through the rest of the year, according to the results of a new survey released by NACS.

Two in three retailers (66%) report that their sales for the first seven months are higher than over the same period last year; only 12% say sales are lower so far this year. NACS’ CSX database of industry metrics shows similarly positive numbers; through the first six months of 2023, in-store sales were up 9.4% compared to the same period in 2022, with inside transactions also up 1.0%.

Equally important, retailers are bullish about the convenience channel’s sales for the rest of 2023; fully one third of all convenience retailers said that the convenience stores were the best positioned of six channels for success over the rest of 2023.

Q: Which channel is best positioned for success over the rest of 2023?

  • 33%: Convenience stores
  • 32%: Online retailers
  • 14%: Dollar stores 

Meanwhile, only 8% of convenience retailers said the channel was worst positioned for success in 2023.

Q: Which channel is worst positioned for success over the rest of 2023?

  • 39%: Restaurants
  • 25%: Drug stores
  • 12%: Grocery stores 

In looking at top industry concerns, it’s no surprise that the labor shortage remains top of mind, especially with unemployment near historic lows. Nearly half of all retailers (44%) listed it as their top concern.

Q: Which of the following issues are a concern to you? (listed in order of importance)

  1. Labor shortage
  2. Inflation
  3. Credit card swipe fees
  4. Government regulation
  5. Shoplifting
  6. Organized retail theft 

With convenience stores in every community in the country, they also play a role in uplifting those communities, contributing more than $1 billion a year to charitable causes that enhance their communities. Preventing underage access to age-restricted products, the core deliverable of the NACS TruAge program, was cited as the top community issue for the industry to address.

Q: What community-focused issues should the industry address?
(top three responses of 8 offered; multiple responses permitted)

  • 56%: Preventing underage access to age-restricted products
  • 48% Wellness (nutrition, etc.)
  • 38%: Human trafficking 

The NACS Member Survey was conducted by NACS Research and was closed on August 4. A total of 170 retailer member companies participated in the survey. NACS Research conducts quarterly custom research with retailer members to identify key priorities and opportunities across the convenience and fuel retail landscape. Explore more NACS Research insights and data.