- Murphy USA plans to renovate up to 50 of its 2,800-square-foot stores stores to its new format in 2024 after a nine-location pilot garnered positive results, President and CEO Andrew Clyde said in the company’s third-quarter earnings call on Thursday.
- The company also announced that it would complete a total of 27 to 30 new stores in 2023, short of its goal of up to 45. Six of the new builds are QuickChek locations.
- As the final part of Murphy’s approach to revamping its stores, the company expects 33 of its kiosk sites to be rebuilt into 1,400-square-foot stores by the end of the year.
While Clyde said it was too early for detailed results from Murphy’s nine pilot stores for the redesign, he called customer feedback “extremely encouraging.”
Some of the changes made included adopting the queue design from QuickChek, moving the grab and go section back further in the store and improving the counter in the grab and go area.
For instance, Clyde said that stores used to just have one microwave low down in the setup for reheatable grab-and-go items. “Now you've got two larger ones up on a counter,” Clyde said. “And so, more people are using that feature than ever before.”
Moving the grab and go section further back means stores don’t need to shade windows to avoid the sun warming those refrigerated cases. This gives the stores a brighter, more inviting look from the outside.
Murphy updated the layout of the coffee area as well, positioning condiments better for customer access.
Clyde also reiterated that the company would build its first “store of tomorrow” in 2024, though he gave no further details except to say it “takes all the learnings from our consumer research and strategy work into a format that enhances this further.”
Along with taking a hard look at store design, Murphy is also looking to boost center store sales as it tries to diversify away from fuel and tobacco. Clyde said the company is looking to apply pricing expertise it has developed in fuel and tobacco to those center store items, as well as apply product and labor planning lessons from QuickChek — moves that are already positively impacting the bottom line, he said.
Speaking about the company’s store expansion plan, Clyde pointed out that a number of factors led to the lower-than-expected number of new builds, including problems with permitting, labor shortages and supply chain issues for construction companies and difficulty getting utilities hooked up.
Construction headwinds are expected to continue into 2024, but the company expects to open 30 to 35 stores through that year, with construction picking up in 2025.
Murphy USA operates more than 1,700 stores in 27 states, including 1,568 Murphy USA and Murphy Express locations and 156 QuickCheks.