Central Oklahoma

U.S. Convenience-Store Sales Reach New Highs: Foodservice Drives In-Store Sales Growth

In 2023, the U.S. convenience-store industry experienced remarkable growth, reaching new sales heights driven by significant advancements in food service offerings. According to newly released data from the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS), total convenience industry sales reached an impressive $859.8 billion. Of this total, $327.6 billion came from in-store sales, demonstrating the increasing importance of convenience stores in the retail sector.

The Transformation of Convenience Stores

Convenience stores have undergone a dramatic transformation in recent years. Traditionally known for their quick stop-and-go services, primarily offering snacks, beverages, and essential items, these stores have expanded their horizons to meet the growing demand for high-quality, convenient food options. This shift has been instrumental in driving the substantial sales growth seen in 2023.

Foodservice: The Key Driver of Growth

Foodservice has emerged as the key driver behind the surge in convenience-store sales. This category encompasses a wide range of offerings, from freshly prepared meals and gourmet coffee to healthier snack options and artisanal sandwiches. The focus on providing high-quality, ready-to-eat food has attracted a broader customer base, including busy professionals, families, and health-conscious consumers.

Convenience stores have transformed by offering freshly prepared meals, high-quality specialty coffee, and healthy, gourmet snacks. These changes cater to the growing demand for convenient, nutritious options, attracting more customers and increasing sales. Customers can now enjoy items ranging from breakfast sandwiches and sushi to cold brew coffee and artisanal cheeses.

The Competitive Edge

The success of foodservice in convenience stores can be attributed to several factors that give them a competitive edge over traditional retailers and QSRs. Convenience stores thrive on their accessibility, speed, and efficiency, making them a go-to for time-pressed consumers. Located in strategic areas, they offer quick access to a variety of products. Their ability to innovate and adapt keeps them relevant, while loyalty programs and promotions encourage repeat business.

Financial Highlights

The convenience-store industry saw record sales in 2023, with several notable metrics:

  • Total Industry Sales: $859.8 billion
  • In-Store Sales: $327.6 billion
  • Average Basket Spend: Increased 3.7% to $7.80
  • Foodservice Sales: Represented 26.9% of in-store sales, up 1.3 percentage points from the previous year
  • Fuel Sales: Decreased to $532.2 billion due to lower gas prices, which dropped 11.2% to an average of $3.53 per gallon
  • Transaction Volume: The average convenience store had 45,312 transactions per month (1,491 per day), a slight 0.4% decrease from the year prior

Despite the decrease in fuel sales and transaction volume, the overall profitability and growth in foodservice demonstrate the sector’s resilience and adaptability.

Why Now is a Good Time to Invest in a Convenience Store?

Investing in a convenience store now presents a unique opportunity for several compelling reasons:

1. Robust Sales Growth:

The impressive 8.2% growth in in-store sales in 2023, driven primarily by foodservice, indicates a thriving industry with strong consumer demand. This growth trajectory suggests a stable and profitable business environment for new investors.

2. Diverse Revenue Streams:

Convenience stores have diversified their offerings to include high-margin food service items, specialty beverages, and healthy snacks. These additions not only attract a broader customer base but also create multiple revenue streams, enhancing overall profitability.

3. Consumer Demand for Convenience:

The modern consumer’s lifestyle demands quick and accessible food options. Convenience stores are ideally positioned to meet this need, providing a significant competitive advantage over other retail formats.

4. Technological Advancements:

The integration of technology, such as advanced POS systems, mobile ordering apps, and self-checkout kiosks, has streamlined operations and improved the customer experience. These technological advancements can drive efficiency and boost sales, making convenience stores more attractive investments.

5. Flexibility and Adaptability:

The convenience-store industry has demonstrated a remarkable ability to adapt to changing consumer preferences and market trends. This flexibility ensures that convenience stores can continue to evolve and remain relevant, reducing investment risk.

6. Loyalty Programs and Customer Retention:

Effective loyalty programs and promotions foster repeat business and customer loyalty. By offering personalized deals and rewards, convenience stores can build a dedicated customer base, ensuring sustained revenue growth.


The significant growth in U.S. convenience-store sales in 2023, driven by advancements in food service, underscores the evolving role of these stores in the retail landscape. With a focus on high-quality, convenient food options, and leveraging technology and innovation, convenience stores have successfully attracted a diverse and loyal customer base. Given the robust sales growth, diverse revenue streams, and strong consumer demand for convenience, now is an excellent time to invest in a convenience store. This sector’s adaptability and technological advancements further enhance its attractiveness as a business investment, promising sustained profitability and growth in the future.

At Southwest Petroleum Realty, we pride ourselves on providing comprehensive support to help you achieve your investment goals, whether you’re interested in acquiring your very first property, expanding your interest with additional fuel station units, or divesting yourself of a current holding. Contact us today to get started.