Retail chain Wawa announced in December 2022 it would expand to three more states. (Shutterstock)

There are 150,174 convenience stores operating in the United States, a 1.5 percent increase from a year earlier, reversing a four-year decline, according to the 2023 NACS/NielsenIQ Convenience Industry Store Count.

Convenience stores sell an estimated 80 percent of the motor fuels purchased by consumers in the United States. The new store count shows that 118,678 convenience stores (79 percent) sell motor fuels (either gasoline or diesel).

Store count increases were recorded in 39 states and Washington, D.C., led by Georgia, which added 271 stores. California lost 53 stores, the most of the seven states that saw their counts decline. The industry growth was fueled by a 1,087-count increase in single-store operators, which now stand at 90,423 stores (60.2 percent of all convenience stores).

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 are 13,346 kiosks. The kiosk format continued to decline—down 11.2 percent the past year and 49.3 percent over the past six years—as more consumers sought out stores that have robust food and beverage offers.

While the overall convenience store count indicated growth, results were mixed for similar channels.

With the U.S. population at 334.2 million, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, there is one convenience store per every 2,225 people.

“The value of convenience continues to grow, and that’s a driving factor why every retailer, regardless of channel, seeks to provide it. And it’s also clear that the convenience offer at convenience stores resonates with consumers, given the record in-store sales at convenience stores and increase in store count,” said NACS managing director of research Chris Rapanick.

Texas continues to have the most convenience stores (116,018 stores), or more than 1 in 10 stores in the United States. The remainder of the top 10 is the same order from the year prior: Despite a decline in store count, California remains second at 12,000 stores, followed by Florida (9,596), New York (7,917), Georgia (6,719), North Carolina (5,749), Ohio (5,673), Michigan (4,879), Pennsylvania (4,728) and Illinois (4,666). Alaska grew its store count by 9.2 percent but still has the fewest stores (190) of any state.

The 2023 NACS/NielsenIQ Convenience Industry Store Count is based on stores in operation as of December 2022.