Convenience stores are satisfying their customers better than ever before, according to a new study.

The 2010 Convenience Tracking Programme (CTP) from research consultancy HIM shows that shoppers are giving c-stores increasingly high marks on the key measures of product availability, value for money and speed of service.

More than half (54%) of all shoppers interviewed rated their local c-store 10 out of 10 for product availability in this spring’s study, compared with 25% a year ago. Similarly, 46% gave their local store an outstanding rating for value for money (21% last year) and 61% gave top marks for speed of service (32% last year).

HIM director Mike Greene said that the recession had helped to focus the minds of c-store operators on key customer measures, and they have collectively upped their game as a result.

“While we have seen a general improvement in scores over time, c-stores had arguably become a bit complacent in recent years and these ratings had been levelling off. However, the recession has put operators on a war footing, and this heightened awareness has produced a faster improvement in the customer offer comparable to when the supermarket multiples first entered the c-store market.

“Multiple and symbol operators in particular are leading the way,” Greene continued. “Initiatives such as range rationalisation and in-store gap counts have enabled them to enhance availability, while rounded prices and mystery shopper programmes have yielded improvements in the way they are viewed on value for money and speed of service.”

The top-performing retail groups from the study will be recognised at the CTP Awards in London on June 9.

For more information on CTP 2010, visit