Truckers hauling freight, parents with rowdy kids and snowbirds escaping the frigid temperatures of the north are just a few of the customers that frequent convenience stores. William Pride, author of “Business,” states in 2010 that convenience stores make up the retail category experiencing the fastest rate of growth for sales, up 9.6 percent as opposed to the retail industry average of 8 percent. What products are sold and at what price are one of the biggest determinants of sales.
Convenience stores sell single snack food items at prices well above the wholesale price. Furthermore, the lengthy expiration date enables stores to keep these goods on the shelf longer than perishable items such as produce, which makes inventory management easier. Snack foods include candy bars, granola bars, chips, peanuts, trail mixes and energy bars. Convenience store businesses modify their selection based on industry trends. For instance, many stores sell healthier items such as nuts and nutrition bars to accommodate customers seeking healthier alternatives.
Convenience stores stay open much later than grocery stores and in turn, can charge higher prices for its products. Alcohol is one such product. A 2003 report by the Culture, Media and Sport Committee of the British House of Commons found that liquor constitutes 12 percent of a convenience store’s sales. Additional beverages with high markups include soda, both at the fountain and bottled in cooler shelves. Some convenience stores also offer several types of vitamin waters, fruit juices and energy drinks.
Many broken-down vehicles limp into convenience stores for oil, jumper cables and other auto supplies. Truckers also depend on these stores to accommodate their needs for basic supplies. As such, these stores provide a variety of oils, lubricants, antifreeze, air fresheners, cleaning supplies, tire gauges and auto repair kits. Profit margins for antifreeze and oil reach 36 percent at convenience stores, according to a December 2010 article on the website Convenience Store Decisions.
Kitschy regional souvenirs are other items offered in convenience stores. For travelers on the road looking for a quick souvenir or postcard for family members, these stores provide the best opportunity to fulfill this obligation. Some stores team up with local artisans to provide these goods. For instance, most convenience stores throughout Arizona offer handmade turquoise jewelry created by American Indians. Other goods include homemade honey, jam and regional baked goods.