Even Convenience Stores Are Running Out of Your Favorite Products — Here’s Why

A view of empty shelves at a department store during the Coronavirus pandemic of 2020.
Orlowski Designs LLC / Shutterstock.com

Convenience stores are ideal places to pick up a range of items in between grocery store trips. However, convenience store operators say that ongoing supply chain disruptions have impacted their ability to meet the demands of shoppers in larger cities and the daily essential needs of customers in secondary markets and rural areas, CNN reported.

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“Here’s the magnitude of the problem right now,” Kevin Smartt, CEO of Texas-based convenience store chain TXB, said to CNN. “As a chain, we’re probably averaging 6,500 to 8,000 outs a week from manufacturers,” he said. ‘Outs’ refers to a branded product that is out of stock and can’t be delivered that week.

Smartt added that out-of-stock items are averaging 12% to 13%. Normally, out-of-stock products average 1.5%. He noted that while he usually restocks with an alternative brand, even that has been difficult. 

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“It’s a daily struggle to buy substitute brands from alternative suppliers for products we carry. It’s a war zone because everyone is doing the same thing,” he explains. “It’s a logistical nightmare and sometimes the substitutes that we have to buy are more expensive.”

Most TXB stores are located in small towns and many times, it’s the only store in town, Smartt told CNN. These communities rely on convenience stores for food and other necessities.

Mike Welsh, senior vice president of operations of Arko, one of the largest convenience store operators, also told CNN that Arko-owned stores have fewer options because of shortages. 

“We’re trying to fill in gaps with substitute items, and at times we just can’t,” Welsh said.

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About the Author

Josephine Nesbit is a freelance writer specializing in real estate and personal finance. She grew up in New England but is now based out of Ohio where she attended The Ohio State University and lives with her two toddlers and fiancé. Her work has appeared in print and online publications such as Fox Business and Scotsman Guide.
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