Labor remains a concern despite optimism about the rest of the year.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — With more than half of 2023 behind them, convenience store operators are feeling good about the year so far and the remaining months.

Convenience retailers report that sales are up year to year and they are optimistic about that trend continuing through the rest of the year, according to new survey results from NACS.

Two out of three retailers (66 percent) report that their sales for the first seven months of 2023 were higher than sales during the same time period in 2022, while just 12 percent say sales were lower.

NACS’ CSX database of industry metrics shows similarly positive figures. During the first six months of 2023, in-store sales were up 9.4 percent compared to the first half of 2022. Inside transactions were also up 1 percent, according to the association.

[Read more: Food & Beverage Spending Drive Retail Sales Revenue]

Retailers are similarly bullish about the c-store channel’s sales for the remainder of 2023, as one-third (33 percent) of all c-store operators said that c-stores were the best positioned of six channels for success over the rest of the year. Thirty-two percent said online retailers were best positioned for success and 14 percent listed dollar stores.

Just 8 percent of c-store operators said the channel was the worst positioned for success in 2023. Retailers were more likely to name restaurants (39 percent), drug stores (25 percent) or grocery stores (12 percent) as being worst positioned for success.

Unsurprisingly, with unemployment near historic lows, the labor shortage remains a top concern, listed by 44 percent of retailers. Inflation, credit card swipe fees, government regulation, shoplifting and organized retail theft are also among c-store operators’ top industry concerns.

Retailers also shared their opinions on the top community-related issues facing the channel. More than half of operators (56 percent) listed preventing underage access to age-restricted products as the top community issue for the c-store industry to address. Addressing wellness (48 percent) and human trafficking (38 percent) were also top concerns.

The NACS Consumer Member Survey closed Aug. 4. A total of 170 retailer member companies participated. NACS Research conducts quarterly custom research with retailer members to identify key priorities and opportunities across the convenience and fuel retail landscape.

Alexandria-based NACS is a global trade association dedicated to advancing convenience and fuel retailing. NACS advances the role of convenience stores as positive economic, social and philanthropic contributors to the communities they serve, and is a trusted adviser to retailer and supplier members from more than 50 countries.

Source: Convenience Store News