Convenience Store News

JAN 2017

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30 Convenience Store News | JANUARY 2017 | WWW.CSNEWS.COM SMALL OPERATOR But not all initiatives may be doable. "We would like to add liquor, but are getting stifled by the city," one retailer responded. As for footprint growth, 27.3 percent of small operators expect to increase their store count in the coming months, while 63.6 percent expect their footprint to remain the same. Only 9.1 percent of small operators expect to decrease their store count this year. These figures lag behind the total industry, where 50 percent expect a store-count increase, 43.3 percent anticipate it will remain the same, and 6.7 per- cent expect to decrease their portfolio size. CONFIDENCE BOOST Small operators see several reasons to be optimistic about the convenience store business in 2017. According to the survey, they are feeling good about their staffs, their offer- ings, and the current and future state of the U.S. economy. "Freeway travel is increasing because of steady fuel pric- es. Locals are using our auto repair services more because of a slightly better economy," one survey participant explained, adding: "Definitely see a change in higher sales of healthier snack options." Plus, c-stores can be a destination point in more ways than one. As one small operator put it: "Confident in my crew, positive attitude, and this town needs a better place to visit." That being said, there are some concerns. Chief among them are labor costs, gas prices rising, and uncertainty sur- rounding the change in the Oval Office. CHANGE OF POWER As President-elect Donald Trump prepares to be sworn in, small operators have mixed feelings about what changes lie ahead under his administration. Some foresee less regulation, and tax breaks. "He is on the business owners' side," one retailer said, adding that he does not expect to see new environmental regulations. Others are more skeptical about the change in power leading to positive changes. In fact, when asked what will be the greatest positive changes under the Trump administra- tion in 2017, responses included: "Can't think of a single thing;" "I have no idea;" and "Waiting for surprises." When asked what will be the greatest negative changes under the Trump administration, small operators pointed to changes immigration policy and the loss of customers as a result. Still, when all is said and done, CSNews found that retailers on the smaller end of the c-store spectrum are largely optimistic about their personal business prospects in 2017. On a scale of one to five — with one being the worst and five being the best — 41.2 percent of small operators are feeling a three, 28.8 per- cent are feeling a four, and 30 percent are feeling like a five. CSN Which will have the biggest impact on sales and profitability for your convenience store(s) in 2017? Motor fuel prices 74.6% Labor issues 61.5% Healthy eating trends 46.2% Health care costs/regulations 38.5% Tobacco and e-cigarette regulations 30.8% Competition 15.4% Emerging technologies 15.4% Demographic changes 6.2% Mobile commerce/marketing 4.1% Multiple responses accepted NOTE: Results are based on small operator respondents, one to 10 stores Source: Convenience Store News Market Research, 2017 How will your store count change in 2017? We plan to increase our store count We plan to decrease our store count Our store count will remain the same 27.3% 9.1% 63.6% NOTE: Results are based on small operator respondents, one to 10 stores Source: Convenience Store News Market Research, 2017 On a scale of 1 to 5, how optimistic do you feel about your business in 2017? NOTE: Results are based on small operator respondents, one to 10 stores Source: Convenience Store News Market Research, 2017 Terrible, wake me when it's over It's going to be our best year ever! 41.2% 0.0% 28.8% 30.0% 0.0% 5 1

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