Convenience stores also sell the majority of beer purchased in the country (59%) when examining the same sales universe, and beer sales at convenience stores increase 9% over the summer months as Americans stock coolers for backyard cookouts or vacations.
Throughout the year, Americans are more likely to visit a convenience store to quench a thirst than for any other reason. Nearly half of all convenience store customers (49%) said that they primarily stopped to purchase a beverage on their most recent visit, according to a national consumer survey conducted by NACS.
Not surprisingly, ice sales also are extremely strong over the summer months. Approximately two-thirds of all sales of bagged ice occur between Memorial Day and Labor Day, according to the International Packaged Ice Association. And, of course, convenience stores are the top destination to purchase bagged ice. Convenience stores sell an estimated 45% of all packaged ice purchased, or $1.9 billion overall.
Add in $8.8 billion in sales for fountain beverages and another $1.2 billion for frozen dispensed beverages (Slurpees, Slush Puppies, Icees, etc.) and it's no surprise that convenience store sales heat up as Americans seek to cool down.
"With all of the cold drinks and ice sold at convenience stores, it makes perfect sense that the convenience store industry was founded by an ice company," said Jeff Lenard, NACS vice president of strategic industry initiatives. In 1927 the Southland Ice Dock in Dallas, Texas, began selling milk, bread and ice for customers who needed convenience items after the local grocery stores closed at 5:00 pm. The ice dock's extended hours of 7:00 am to 11:00 pm ultimately factored into the company's new name: 7-Eleven.
"Whether over the Fourth of July weekend or any time this summer, Americans can be sure to quench their thirst with cold drinks and ice at convenience stores," said Lenard.
Founded in 1961 as the National Association of Convenience Stores, NACS (nacsonline.com) is the international association for convenience and fuel retailing. The U.S. convenience store industry, with more than 154,000 stores across the country, conducts 160 million transactions a day, sells 80% of the fuel purchased in the country and had total sales of $575 billion in 2015. NACS has 2,100 retail and 1,700 supplier member companies, which do business in nearly 50 countries.
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SOURCE National Association of Convenience Stores