There are 148,026 convenience stores in the United States, a 1.5% decrease from a year earlier.
More than one in 10 convenience stores in the United States are located in one state.
Texas continues to have the most convenience stores (15,742 stores) in the nation, according to the 2022 NACS/NielsenIQ Convenience Industry Store Count. California is second, with 12,053 states. (See top 10 states at end of article.)
The report noted that the U.S. C-store count has fallen for the fourth straight year. There are 148,026 convenience stores operating in the United States, a 1.5% decrease from a year earlier.
The industry decline was led by a 3.1% decrease in single-store operators, which still account for 60.4% of all convenience stores (89,336 stores). The decline of single-store operators continues a multi-year trend: Single-store operators made up a record 63.2% of the industry in 2017. Meanwhile, the percentage of single-store operators that sell fuel dropped to 54.6% in 2021, the lowest since the metric has been tracked in 2005. (Convenience stores sell an estimated 80% of the motor fuels purchased by consumers in the United States.)
The new store count shows that 116,641 convenience stores sell motor fuels (78.8% of all convenience stores). There were 4,897 fewer stores selling motor fuels compared to the year prior, but a direct comparison is imprecise because the 2022 store count reflects a slight methodology change for c-stores that sell fuel.
The decline in the convenience store count reflects the decline of other retail brick-and-mortar stores except for dollar stores, according to the report. In addition, there are “gas station/kiosk” stores that sell fuel but not enough of an in-store product assortment to be considered convenience stores. Overall, there were 14,826 kiosks in 2021. The kiosk format continued to decline — down 5.2% the past year and 32.9% over the past six years — as more consumers sought out stores that have robust food and beverage offers.
Despite the fourth straight yearly decline in stores, the overall convenience store count is approximately the same as a decade ago (148,126 stores in 2012). With the U.S. population at 332.4 million according to the U.S. Census Bureau, there is one convenience store per every 2,245 people.
“The new store count reflects ongoing changes that are happening in retail as our industry continues to invest in their operations and redefine convenience,” said NACS vice chairman of research and technology Chuck Maggelet, who is CEO and chief adventure guide of Maverik Inc.“These opportunities to attract consumers and grow sales require new technologies and often different footprints that were not possible with many of the legacy stores that closed,” he said.
He added that approximately one in seven Maverik stores were remodeled or improved in 2021. The company expects to do the same again this year.