According to a survey of US retailers released today by the National Association of Convenience Stores, c-store retailers say that instore sales have performed strongly this year and the growth in food sales in largely responsible.

Three in five (60 percent) c-store retailers say that instore sales in the first nine months of 2017 were higher than the same period last year, compared to 20 percent who say sales were lower. Seventy-five percent of retailers say they are optimistic about how their business will perform leading into the fourth quarter, according to the survey.

While retailers attributed several reasons for the optimism, an increased emphasis on fresh foods sales was most often cited. 

"We are becoming well known for awesome food, clean facilities and great customer service," says Don Burd with Otter Creek Country Stores, summing up his company's and the industry's prospects.

As another example, a robust foodservice program is just part of the overall re-imaging program at Landhope Corp. in Kennett Square, PA. As part of its remodeling process, the stores have provided more fueling locations for customers, improved aesthetics with enhanced lighting both inside and outside the store and an expanded foodservice program that has been well-received by customers, according to Dennis McCartney, the company’s director of operations.

A total of 90 NACS member companies, representing 1,778 stores, participated in the survey.