Hughes

How Does Downtime Affect Your C-Store's Profits?

The Real Impact of Network Outages on Petroleum/Convenience Stores

The modern convenience store is a conglomeration of disparate businesses. Needs-driven, low margin segments like fuel are balanced against higher-profit in-store categories. This generates more traffic and maximizes profits.

These segments began to join forces during the oil crisis of the late 1970s when petroleum dealers realized that general merchandise would be more profitable than vehicle repairs. Fuel and repairs were generally offered together at that time, and consumer merchandise was limited to a few sodas, cigarettes, and candy bars next to the service desk.

Once repair services were eliminated, store footprints gradually grew, as did general merchandise. Food service was added, with coffee and basic roller dogs giving way to comprehensive operations involving everything from fried chicken, hamburgers, and fries to full-service delis, hot breakfast bars, and even catering. Some chains even lease space to QSRs (quick-service restaurants) such as McDonald’s and Wendy’s.

Over the years, the modern convenience store segment has grown phenomenally. Today, the $237 billion industry includes 154,958 stores, a 55% increase over 1987, according to the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS). Stores average 2,700 to 2,900 square feet. Each serves an average of 1,100 customers daily, amounting to more than 400,000 annually per location, said NACS. About 80% sell fuel, and some also have car washes and other services.

 

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