America’s Most Popular Stores

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10. 7-Eleven
> Index score, women: 93
> Index score, men: 107
> Store count: 7,672
> One-year stock-price change: N/A
> Store category: Gas stations and convenience

While 7-Eleven is a common sight in many Americans towns, the convenience store is also quite prominent outside the United States. Remarkably, the vast majority of 7-Eleven sales — more than 85% — came from outside the U.S. Unlike other popular stores, Americans earning between $25,000 and $50,000 were less likely than the average American to visit 7-Eleven. Wealthier consumers, on the other hand — those earning more than $100,000 — were more likely to visit 7-Eleven. Despite its popularity in the states, 7-Eleven spent relatively little on advertising. The chain did not make AdAge’s top 100 leading national advertisers rank in 2012.

9. Taco Bell
> Index score, women: 94
> Index score, men: 106
> Store count: N/A
> One-year stock-price change: N/A
> Store category: Restaurant

Taco Bell has had some success in claiming a share of the breakfast market, which has been dominated by McDonald’s for years. More than many of the other most popular stores, Taco Bell draws a relatively young crowd. Those 18- to 34-year-olds were more likely to visit Taco Bell last quarter than any other age group reviewed. The chain’s success may be due in part to its late hours of operation and prices, considered low even in the fast-food industry. While CEO Greg Creed has stated his commitment to low prices, this may be difficult going forward with the introduction of Taco Bell’s slightly healthier menu items.

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8. Burger King
> Index score, women: 95
> Index score, men: 105
> Store count: 7,183
> One-year stock-price change: +44.6%
> Store category: Restaurant

Unlike Burger King’s major competitors, the store was not included on AdAge’s list of top advertisers for 2012. While the number of Burger King Worldwide Inc. (NYSE: BKW) stores actually declined in recent years — down 0.5% between 2011 and 2012 — Burger King remains among America’s most popular stores. In fact, the reduction in company-owned stores in favor of franchisee-owned stores, as well as a recent simplification of its menu, may have helped boost Burger King’s profitability. Americans earning between $25,000 and $50,000 a year were the most likely to visit Burger King last March, compared with every other income group reviewed by Placed.

7. CVS Caremark
> Index score, women: 107
> Index score, men: 92
> Store count: 7,472
> One-year stock-price change: +27.5%
> Store category: Department store

CVS Caremark Corp. (NYSE: CVS) had 7,472 stores in 2012, more than any other drugstore chain except for Walgreens. CVS Caremark is particularly popular among women. Women were 7% more likely than the average American to visit a CVS Caremark, a trend that is seen across most drugstores. Unlike many popular stores, CVS Caremark’s popularity does not seem to rely as heavily on ad spending. In 2012, the company spent slightly more than $400 million advertising, barely making AdAge’s top 100 advertisers list.

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6. Target
> Index score, women: 107
> Index score, men: 92
> Store count: 1,778
> One-year stock-price change: -11.8%
> Store category: Department store

Recent public relations disasters — most notably mass data theft confirmed by the company in February — have contributed to Target’s falling sales and revenues. Despite this, Target remains one of America’s most visited stores. Consumers in the 18-to-34 age group were 11% more likely than the average American to visit a Target. Americans earning at least $100,000 annually were even more likely to visit Target than other stores, with an index score of 160. Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT) was also among the nation’s top advertisers, spending $1.7 billion in 2012, more than most U.S. companies.