The U.S. Travel Association reported that Thanksgiving weekend travel almost returned to pre-pandemic levels, only 4% below 2019. Travel and the holiday shopping season usually means good news for the convenience store industry. As travel increases consumers will fill their gas tanks, but will they stop in to grab a candy bar and a soft drink in the midst of the hustle and bustle? Is it possible the convenience store is a destination to grab a 6-pack of beer or a bottle of wine to take to the destination?

November was a strong month for the National Retail Solutions (NRS) network recognizing 12% gains compared to last year, extending a strong year to date trend of double digit growth versus 2020. CY 2021 10% growth is compounded over a 19% increase compared to 2019. There are a number of factors contributing to the gains:

November 2021 vs 2020

  • Transactions: +3%.
  • Avg Number of items per basket: +3%
  • Dollar value per basket: +$0.60

Below is a chart by category illustrating how often a category is purchased out of the total number of transactions in November 2021 compared to November 2020.

The two most frequently purchased categories (Cigarettes and Beer) are seeing slight declines in the frequency of purchase, but there are other categories with tremendous growth in same store sales. Meat snacks (+34%), Value Add Water (+30%) and Sport Drinks (+24%) are making their way to the counter at checkout on a more frequent basis. While Beer saw a slight decline in consumer selection, the alcoholic beverage category more than made up for it with a 10% increase in FMB/Cider purchases.

The three categories that added the most unique items per store in November 2021 versus prior were Confection, FMB/Cider, and Energy Beverages. This illustrates how the independent retailers regularly and quickly respond to the changing consumer demands and realign their offerings accordingly.

About NRS

National Retail Solutions (NRS) operates a point-of-sale (POS) terminal-based platform for independent retailers and bodega owners nationwide. In almost 12,500 individual outlets, the platform provides a robust portfolio of tools to help these retailers compete more effectively in the marketplace including an integrated rewards program, consumer promotions, and DOOH shopper-facing advertising screens. From the scanner data collected across its network, these unique insights were gleaned. For more information on your categories and brands, please contact Brandon Thurber, director of media measurement and scan data insights for NRS, at