The return of full-freight Social Security contributions from workers' paychecks has a lot of people worrying about an imminent slowdown in consumer spending. But at least one segment of the retail industry is doing well: convenience stores.
January retail sales in the U.S. showed almost no improvement over December levels, and Q4 2012 retail sales were up only 2.2% from Q4 2011 levels. Combined with the effects of higher gas prices, experts estimate that Q1 2013 growth could be as little as 0.7% and in any event will probably show a slowdown from Q4's growth pace.
Yet last week, a report out of market researcher NPD Group showed that customer visits to convenience stores increased 4.6% in Q4, with the average shopper visiting a convenience store more often than once-a-week -- 6.2 visits per month, in fact. Part of this appears to be repeat traffic to top off the tank, with gas station convenience stores seeing above-average 3.2% growth in visits. Other popular purchases include alcoholic beverages, cigarettes/tobacco, and fresh food.
Commenting on the trends in a press release, NPD convenience-store industry analyst David Portalatin said "the c-store channel outlook is positive for 2013."
Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
More from The Motley Fool
A Royalty Marijuana Stock Might Be the Smartest Way to Get In on the Green Rush
This revolutionary royalty pot stock expects an annual yield of 230,000 kilograms of dried cannabis from its partners.
Here Are 2018's Best and Worst States to Retire
How does your state rank?
30 Things to Do Before Buying a House
<p>Preparation can go a long way toward making a difficult process easier.</p>