U.S. convenience stores saw record profits in 2023, according to a new report from the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS). Sales reached more than $859 billion in 2023, of which $327 billion were from in-store sales. The report stated that average shopping basket sales rose 3.7 percent to $7.80. 

Total industry food service sales including, prepared food; commissary; and hot, cold and frozen dispensed beverages, totaled nearly 30 percent of in-store sales, up 1.3 percent compared with 2022. Profits from food services sales reached just over 37 percent of total in-store profits. 

More than 80 percent of fuel purchased in the U.S. is through convenience stores, however, this didn’t help sales, which fell to $532 billion in 2023. Lower gas prices, which fell by 11.2 percent to an average of $3.53 in 2023, are believed to be the main contributing factor to the decrease in revenue. Fuel sales accounted for 67.3 percent of revenues, but only 38.6 percent of profits for the convenience store industry in 2023, according to NACS.

Overall, the average convenience store had 45,312 transactions per month in 2023, or 1,491 per day, a 0.4 percent decrease compared to 2022. 

NACS believes a greater acceptance of convenience store food and beverages has helped push sales higher in 2023. The convenience store industry saw an increase of 1.5 percent in brick-and-mortar locations, averaging just over 152,300 stores.

Inflation and other economic pressures hindered sales growth in 2023, with direct operating expenses increasing 3.3 percent to $150 billion, while wages and benefits reached more than $84 billion. 

Despite positive sales growth, direct store operating expenses climbed 3.3 percent to $150.1 billion in 2023, with wages and benefits representing the largest operating cost at $84.2 billion.

Average wages for full-time employees increased 30 cents to $14.73 per hour, while part-time employees earned an average of $13.86 per hour. Overall, the convenience store industry employed more than 2.7 million people across the United States in 2023.