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The Nielsen Company is out with a new study saying that "more than 8,100 convenience stores (C-stores) have been added nationwide since 2005, bringing the total to 148,764. In fact, there are more C-stores than warehouse clubs, supercenters, dollar stores, supermarkets and drug stores combined. Most other types of store formats have also added locations in the past seven years, some at a higher rate than C-stores, but no other retail format can match the number of new C-stores ... In addition to store count, revenue is up for C-stores as well. Year-over-year sales in the U.S. grew 4.9 percent in the 52-week period ending August 4, 2012, compared to 3.7 percent growth for the marketplace overall."

Other excerpts pointing to changes - both existing and potential - in the c-store business:

• "C-stores are increasingly emerging as a viable choice for quick and/or healthy on-the-go meals. Within the past year, common grocery items like yogurt and fresh produce have increased sales in C-stores by 57 percent and 38 percent, respectively. These stores make it easy for consumers to eat fresh, buy less and shop more often. The trend is gaining traction across the U.S. and could attract higher-income shoppers. C-store drive-thrus are also gaining in popularity with Americans, making most store items (including grocery staples such as bread, eggs and cereal) available without having to leave the car."

• "Interesting partnerships between C-stores and other retailers and manufacturers have helped to accelerate growth. One such collaboration with an internet retailer uses C-store locations to house delivery lockers for online purchases. By providing a secure location for deliveries, Internet merchants cut shipping costs and C-stores attract customers. Taking a page from Asia Pacific retailers in countries such as Indonesia and Thailand, U.S. and Canadian retailers could look for new revenue opportunities by considering in-store technology for paying utility bills, buying movie tickets and receiving money transfers. These kinds of strategies helped grow the number of C-stores in the Asia Pacific region by 29 percent over the past two years and may serve as thought starters for how to improve historically-low Asian-American consumer interest in C-stores."
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