April 26, 2023
The IRS publishes tax return data each year on the roughly 28,000,000 sole proprietorships in the U.S. We analyzed the 147,351 tax returns that were filed in the convenience store industry to pull out some key statistics and insights to help our customers ensure that they are creating realistic financial projections for their convenience store.
We hope that this data will be helpful for you as a “reality check” for your financial projections and convenience store business planning process. We hope you create a forecast for your unique situation and plan, and then use this data to make sure your projections seem reasonable based on industry averages.
Here is what we will cover in this article:
Learn How to Use this Financial Data
If you are creating projections for your startup business, or you just want to see how your existing business stacks up to industry averages, you can take your income statement and compare key ratios and percentages for your business compared to this industry average data.
How many Convenience Store businesses in the US are sole proprietorships
There are roughly 145,000 convenience store businesses in the US organized as sole proprietorships. We specifically analyzed 147,351 Convenience Store financials based on the 2019 IRS tax return data.
Note: Although we can’t confirm this with 100% certainty, we believe that some of these tax returns are likely for convenience stores that also include a pharmacy. A pharmacy can obviously make a big difference in the revenue and expense numbers for a convenience store.
Average annual revenue for a Convenience Store
The average annual revenue for all sole proprietorship convenience store businesses in the U.S. was just $52,768
This number seemed low to me. In fact, in our blog post How to Start a Convenience Store we found that the average convenience store revenue was $4 million per year per store. However, this revenue number includes large and small stores which can have large differences in revenue streams, and could include or exclude pharmacies and gasoline.
So what gives?
I think we need to remember that this tax return data includes all sole proprietors that categorize themselves in the “health and personal care stores” aka convenience stores. Depending on location and region the potential revenue may vary.
This underscores the importance of actually creating your own Convenience Store projections based on your potential store size and customer traffic.
Average annual expenses for a Convenience Store
The average annual expenses for all sole proprietorship convenience store businesses in the U.S. was $50,110.
It should jump out to you immediately that average annual expenses for a health and personal care store will be made up of the cost of goods, but can vary greatly depending on the type of products, so again let’s not focus too much on the specific dollar amounts here. What we can gain from this tax return data is an understanding of expenses and profits as a percentage of revenue rather than a specific dollar amount.
Average net profit margin for a convenience store business
The average net profit margin for a convenience store business was 5%.
How much can I make by owning a Health and Care Store business?
In order to calculate the earnings potential of a convenience store you can take the following assumptions:
- # of visitors
- Average order value per visitor
These assumptions will allow you to come up with a revenue forecast for your convenience store. From there you can apply the 5% profit margin.
Top 10 expenses for a convenience store business
Based on the tax returns of roughly 145,000 sole proprietors operating in the convenience store industry, the following were the 10 largest business expenses as a percentage of revenue.
Average material costs expense for a Convenience Store business
The average convenience store business spent 53% of annual revenue on material costs.
Given that a majority of the cost is spent on inventory to sell, this is not surprising. There is an importance of finding the right mix of inventory types that have higher profit margins with standard, in demand items.
Average salary and labor expense for a Convenience Store
The average sole proprietor convenience store business spent roughly 8% of annual revenue on Salaries and Wages. There is also another 3% in contract labor.
In addition to inventory, salary and labor is the second most common cost. It requires people to find and purchase inventory and stock and sell the various products.
Average rent expense for a Convenience Store
The average sole proprietor convenience store spent roughly 4% of annual revenue on rent.
Depending on the size of the property, this expense could vary. Given the size and location of a health and personal care store could vary, this is likely to have a large variance.
Average car and truck expenses for a Convenience Store
The average convenience store spent roughly 3% of annual revenue on car and truck expenses.
Important Details about the Data
I want to point out a few key items about the data:
- You can download this data for free from the IRS website.
- The data includes 147,351 convenience store sole proprietorships in the U.S. in 2019.
- This data will include businesses that operate full time, and businesses that only operate on a part time basis.
- Because of this, you should take the raw numbers for revenue, expenses and profit with a grain of salt, but the percentages can still be quite valuable when trying to forecast expenses for your business.
- This data includes businesses from all across the country, keep in mind that revenue and expenses can vary greatly based on your specific geographic location.
- We used 2019 data because we felt it was most likely to be representative of a “normal” environment for the industry. COVID-19 caused disruption to almost every business in 2020 and 2021, so we wanted to utilize “normalized” data.
If you have any questions about the data or how to utilize the data in your financial forecasting process please don’t hesitate to reach out to us!