Convenience Store News

JAN 2017

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40 Convenience Store News | JANUARY 2017 | WWW.CSNEWS.COM Retailer Forecast foodservice offerings and capabilities; mobile app development; and loyalty program introductions. It looks like the convenience channel landscape will also be growing in the coming months. Of those retail- ers surveyed, half indicated they will increase their total store count in 2017, while 43.3 percent expect their count to stay the same, and only 6.7 percent plan to downsize. Discipline, strategic planning, the economy, growth in population, and growth in footprint are among the key reasons cited by retailers to explain their largely optimis- tic outlook. Another rationale: the effect President-elect Donald Trump will have on their business. "New president says he is looking out for small- business owners — I hope," one retailer said. And another commented, "New president equals increase in jobs equals increase in country morale equals increase in spending. America is back." Interestingly, retailers pointed to a few of the same reasons — namely, the economy and the new presi- dent — as foremost concerns for business conditions in 2017. C-store operators also voiced concern about competition and channel blurring, regulations, higher minimum wages, and higher costs in general (labor, credit card, energy costs, etc.). Among the biggest positive changes retailers think can come about under President Trump and the new Congress are better health care, regulatory relief, tax benefits, and less political gridlock. One retailer expressed hope in "a 'breath of fresh air' in all of the promises made, and that [Trump] really will be able 'to drain the swamp' in Washington, D.C." Not everyone is as hopeful, though. "I really don't know what positives will come out of his administra- tion," another respondent stated. As for the biggest negative changes retailers think may come about under President Trump, they can be summed up in two words: uncertainty and division. One retailer expressed concern that customers are scared and not spending money, while another noted people are divided between those who like Trump vs. those who don't. Still, overall, the convenience retailer community is feeling good heading into the next 12 months. On scale of one to five, with five being the most optimis- tic, nearly one-quarter checked off the No. 5 box, say- ing, "It's going to be our best year ever." In addition, 40.7 percent checked the No. 4 box, and 37 percent checked the No. 3 box. — Melissa Kress Retailer forecast for 2017 store count change How optimistic do you feel about your business in 2017? (Rate on a scale of 1 to 5) How does your company view the overall conditions for the U.S. economy in 2017? We plan to increase our total store count We plan to decrease our total store count Our store count will remain the same 50.0% 6.7% 43.3% Source: Convenience Store News Market Research, 2017 Source: Convenience Store News Market Research, 2017 Source: Convenience Store News Market Research, 2017 Terrible, wake me when it's over It's going to be our best year ever! 37.0% 0.0% 40.7% 22.3% 0.0% 61.1% 27.8% 11.1% 5 1

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