Lee Barnes
Lee Barnes
Lee leads the Data Insights team and is a self-confessed data geek who can often be found engaging with his team members and digging into all kinds of data.

C-Stores enter flattened recovery phase

Last week we looked at how restaurants are seeing a renewed recovery, even if the upward trend is smaller than before. 

When it comes to convenience stores, the trend is very different. C-stores had a much shallower drop at the start of the pandemic, which amounted to about half that of restaurants. They were helped by the fact that in most states, c-stores were put in the “essential” category, meaning that they could stay open even as other retail companies had to close up shop. Still, with traditional commuting patterns disrupted, c-stores took a bit of a hit. 

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The New Normal: Restaurants are growing again

Since the COVID crisis hit back in March we on the data team at Paytronix have been tracking the restaurant recovery. After an initial crash that’s been well documented, we saw a relatively consistent level of growth of about 0.4% per day starting in late March and extending right into June. This was the time that restaurants adjusted to the crisis, shifting their business models away from on-premise and over to takeout and delivery. 

Around mid-June, however, something changed and the market simply flatlined for the next 30 days. 

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New Covid hotspots stagnate growth, but bring no new losses

The final weeks of June and early half of July ushered in a new era of the pandemic, as southern and western states that had largely evaded the worst of Covid-19 became new virus hotspots. The rising number of confirmed cases and hospitalizations forced many states to order restaurants shutter their dining rooms – again – and meant fewer drivers on the road as other businesses wound down operations. 

Despite the setback, Paytronix data shows that the restaurant industry’s recovery has slowed, but not reversed. In late March and into early April, restaurant sales dropped to 30% of pre-COVID levels.  Starting in the middle of April we saw sales recover at a rate of 0.4% – 0.5% per day, reaching 70% of pre-COVID levels by the July 4th weekend.   […]

Fuel sales data suggests shorter trips for July 4th this summer

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, this July 4th holiday was anticipated to be, in relative terms, one of the weakest Independence Day travel periods in the last 50 years. But while overall travel was down, the percentage of Americans traveling by car was projected to be higher than usual, a prediction that appears to be supported by fuel sales data.   

Comparing 2020 and 2019 data is more difficult than usual; this year the 4th fell on Saturday but the holiday was observed on Friday. Last year, it fell and was observed on Thursday.  The charts below show the gas sales (measured in gallons) over the holiday period and in the weeks running up to the holiday.   

On each chart the solid lines are the sales on that day, the dotted lines are the same day the previous week as a comparison.  We can see some key similarities and differences in the data between the 2 years:  

In both years we see a run up in sales above the previous week, beginning a few days before the holiday (excluding the Tuesday in 2019) as people fuel up their cars in advance of planned trips.  This indicates that holiday celebrations still involved travel in 2020.  […]