NACS was founded August 14, 1961, as the National Association of Convenience Stores. It is an international trade association representing more than 2,200 retail and 1,800 supplier company members. NACS member companies do business in nearly 50 countries worldwide, with the majority of members based in the United States. The U.S. convenience store industry, with 144,875 stores across the United States (as of December 31, 2008), posted $624 billion in total sales for 2008, with $450 billion in motor fuels sales.
NACS serves the convenience and petroleum retailing industry by providing industry knowledge, connections and advocacy to ensure the competitive viability of its members' businesses. In 2007, the association shortened its name to NACS and added a tagline that better defines its presence both internationally and at the retail fueling level: The Association for Convenience and Petroleum Retailing.
While 49 of the top 50 convenience stores in the United States are members of NACS, the majority of its members are small, independent operators. More than 70 percent of its total membership is comprised of companies that operate 10 stores or less. This membership base roughly tracks the industry as a whole. Of the 145,000 convenience stores in the United States, 62 percent are owned and operated by someone who only has one store.
NACS is the industry's voice in the federal government — to the executive, legislative and judicial branches. Its issues are as varied as the industry it represents, from motor fuels to credit card fees to labor to taxes. These include:
Motor Fuels: NACS is the industry’s leading advocate on motor fuels policy and represents 80 percent of the country’s retail fuel sales. NACS recognizes the unique role of the convenience store retailer within the motor fuel system and represents the industry's interests before Congress and the administration.
Credit Card Fees: Credit card fees are the convenience and petroleum retailing industry’s top pain point. In 2008, credit card fees surged another 10.5 percent to reach a record $8.4 billion — nearly three times the level just five years ago — an amount more than $3 billion greater than convenience store industry pretax profits. NACS is currently urging Congress to persuade the credit card companies to explain their fees, practices and policies to retailers and the public. NACS is the named plaintiff in a class action suing not only Visa and MasterCard, but also their issuing banks.
Labor and Healthcare: The convenience store industry employs 1.73 million Americans, and labor and healthcare costs are the largest expense category for the industry. NACS seeks to work with congressional leaders on labor and healthcare issues so that retailers can control their costs and not have to make the choice between offering benefits and hiring new employees.
NACS produces a variety of products to help retailers grow their businesses, from research and marketing to human resources support to category management. NACS also has several industry-specific reports and programs that define the industry’s performance:
NACS State of the Industry Report: the industry’s premier benchmarking tool and the most comprehensive collection of firm-level, store-level and category data and trends based on the convenience store industry’s annual performance.
CSX: the largest purpose-built, online database of financial and operating data in the industry.
Consumer Tracking Program: a store-level shopper entry and exit research and insight program.
Gas Price Kit: NACS shares details from the gas price kit at AAA's annual convention and explains how retail fuel prices are determined.
NACS develops a host of targeted events, designed facilitate interaction between suppliers and retailers, increase industry awareness with regards to legislative developments in the industry, and encourage an exchange of ideas about new products and best practices. Signature events hosted by NACS include:
NACS Show: Drawing more than 21,000 attendees and 1,200 exhibitors which cover nearly 400,000 net square feet, it rotates between three cities: Las Vegas, Chicago and Atlanta. The event also features nearly 60 workshops and three general sessions.
NACStech: Approximately 1,300 attendees and more than 100 exhibitors are expected at NACStech, which also will feature 24 workshops dedicated to critical industry topics including PCI and triple DES compliance, state-of-the-art loyalty programs and maximizing POS strategies.
NACS State of the Industry Summit: The event delivers a thorough review of trends and opportunities by dissecting comprehensive industry data.
NACS Global Forum: The annual event allows retailers and suppliers to interact with their counterparts from other countries, share global best practices, understand emerging trends, gain consumer insights and experience new ideas in the convenience channel.
NACS Leadership Forum: A world-class event that brings together a broad base group of retailers and suppliers to provide thought leadership relevant to our industry, strengthen existing relationships and build new business relationships.