Though the AM/PM convenience chain pulled out of the eastern U.S. in 2012, scattered west coast closings have led to questions about the perennial chain’s longevity.
The subject of this piece, ampm, will be referred to in context herein as AM/PM in uppercase with a slash as it is referred to in most online articles. Otherwise, this article is based on corporate postings and accredited media reports. Linked information within this article is attributed to the following outlets: Wikipedia.org, RentechDigital.com, ampm.com, Retail4Growth.com, Entrepreneur.com, CSNews.com, RetailWatchers.com, and Google.com.
This article represents the latest in a series that attempts to elucidate the truth behind internet rumors of business closures.
As excerpted from the company’s Wikipedia page: ampm is a convenience store chain stores with branches located in several U.S. states, including Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and in several countries such as Costa Rica and Brazil. The brand pulled out of the Eastern United States in 2012. The ampm brand is owned by BP America, Inc.,a subsidiary of BP, which acquired its founding owner, Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO), in 2000. In the United States, the stores are usually attached to an ARCO or BP-branded gas station. The first location opened in Southern California in 1978.
According to RentechDigital.com, which references the latest formal online count: There are a total of 1195 ampm locations in United States as of April 28, 2021 The state with the most number of ampmlocations in the United States is Las Vegas with 32 locations, which is 6% of all ampm locations in United States.
The location count appears to remain consistent with today’s numbers, per the location finder on ampm.com. However, the BP website states “around 950 locations” though it is unclear when the page was last updated.
Regardless, over the past several years AM/PM has closed several west coast locations. Does this reflect current business trends?
Let us explore further.
Entrepreneur.com features a current listing of qualifications to attain an AM/PM franchise, of which, it should be noted, is a 100% franchisable company. Simply, the company continues to expand while underperforming locations shutter.
A March, 2022 piece from CSNews.com emphasizes a new technology presently being implemented within the entity, yet another sign the company continues to advance as opposed to preparing to close anything other than individual locations. In “BP Brings AI Self-Checkout System to ampm Stores,” the following is stated: The technology advances BP's journey of implementing new types of automated checkout at its stores, according to the company. BP envisions a convenience store of the future with a variety of checkout options to give customers a choice in how they shop. This is the most recent step, as the company aims to nearly double earnings from its global convenience and mobility business by 2030 from approximately $5 billion in 2019.
Such implementation is clearly the long-term plan for the company.
Rumors of the company’s closure appear to have had their roots in 2018. In a bluntly-titled archived question and answer piece from that year in RetailWatchers.com, “Death of AM/PM,” the company’s “debranding“ is examined.
The (lengthy) question asked by a reader was this: Are Am/Pms debranding at a rapid rate (but staying Arco) in other areas or is northern Nevada an odd case? The Arcos up here are all owned by different people so it isn't a case of some multi-site operator deciding to do independent. So far in the past year, two Am/Pms in Carson City have gone to no-name c-store format. More recently I have observed in Minden, NV the Arco has replaced its roadside sign to just say "Arco" but the building still has an AM PM sign so this one is still an Am/Pm but I wonder why the roadside sign was replaced. And in the past few weeks one Am/Pm has taken down its signs at Rock/Victorian in Sparks (now the Rock'n B Mini Mart still with Arco) and a second Am/Pm in Reno on Sierra Highlands Drive has removed its Am/Pm exterior signage and is now "Sierra ARCO."
For the most part, those closures referenced were simply underperforming locations. Today, a targeted Google search reveals scattered newer closings, primarily in the state of California.
The company, though, is not shutting down, which is nothing more than a rumor appearing to be based on the above old posting.
AM/PM will continue, as is the case with most other food/gas/convenience stores, to permanently close individual low-performing locations while continuing to set up new franchise locations.
The company will most likely remain in business for the long haul, as their financial condition is presently considered positive.
Thank you for reading.