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We are seeing travel increase as state officials lift restrictions. Personal travel hit its lowest level the week of April 12th with declines of 40% to 50% from preCOVID travel patterns. The week of May 3rd saw personal travel off 8% to 12% in most New England states. Massachusetts and Vermont have the slowest improvements with personal travel being off 30%.

Many operators we have spoken to over the past week are telling us that volumes continue to build. Most report volumes are up 5% to 7% each week. Volumes should always be discussed with margins, the two go hand-in-hand. Margins have been in decline over the past four weeks dropping from all-time highs of 90¢ to the current 50¢ per gallon.

Margins remain well above recent annual averages and are expected to continue to
contract.

The biggest surprise from many is the pace of in-store sales. Those operators located along commuter routes are finding that both volumes and in-store sales are flat to slight improvement. Stores located in local neighborhoods are rebounding very quickly, with some stores exceeding prior year levels. This rapid increase is attributable to consumers receiving government stimulus checks, easing of stay-at home restrictions, and consumer fatigue with the stay-at-home orders.

Neighborhood stores benefit from consumers seeking alternatives to bigbox retailers. Those c-stores that offer a variety of grocery products are seeing increased foot traffic.

C-stores need to adapt to consumer demands in a post-COVID environment. This will mean creating a safe environment for customers and maintaining a diversity of products. Those operators that understand the new trends will thrive well into the future. We look forward to hearing from you and discuss your company’s future.