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NPD: Convenience stores a growing competitor

Analysts say consumers' need for 'grab-and-go' fueled 2Q sales and traffic increase

Customers citing the need to get “in-and-out quickly” for food and beverage purchases helped drive increases in convenience-store traffic, sales and average visits during the second quarter of 2010.

Convenience store traffic rose 8 percent while sales jumped 11 percent for the quarter ended in June, according to The NPD Group, the Chicago-based market research company.

Frequency of c-store visits also increased in the quarter. NPD’s “Convenience Store Monitor,” which tracks the purchasing behavior of more than 49,000 U.S. convenience-store shoppers, reported the average number of visits consumers made to a c-store in an average 30-day period rose to 6.4 in the second quarter compared with 6.1 visits in the prior-year quarter.

“Convenience and the need for grab-and-go will continue to be motivators for c-store visits,” said David Portalatin, the 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.”

Convenience stores remain a growing competitor for foodservice dollars, especially as the breakfast daypart continues to emerge as key growth area for the foodservice industry.

In a webinar last week, Warren Solochek, vice president of the foodservice group of NPD Group, said restaurants face competition from a wider number of offerings from convenience stores.

“We’ll see an expansion of foodservice programs and an upgrade of foodservice programs for c-stores,” Solochek said. “Convenience stores are really very strong in morning and in the snacking-kind of dayparts. In 2011, that will be growing competition for a number of quick-service operators.”

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected].

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