America's Most Popular Stores

One half of Americans went to McDonald’s at least once in March, according to location analytics group Placed Insights. Nearly four in ten Americans visited Walmart, the next most popular business in March.

Placed Insights, a consumer habits data service provider, monitors the consumption behavior of more than 70,000 Americans ages 14 and older on a monthly basis. The data show that a handful of companies are visited by at more than one in 10 Americans each month. The companies are primarily in the fast food, discount retail and pharmacy sectors. Based on a review of Placed’s data for March 2013, these are the most visited stores in America.

Click here to see the ten most popular stores

The type of businesses these companies are in plays a big part in the kind of foot traffic they get each month. According to Placed Insights, less than 40% of Americans visited a bank or clothing fashion store in March. At the same time, an estimated 60% visited a department store, and more than two-thirds went to a fast food restaurant at least once.

Placed Insights founder and CEO David Shim explained that the type of goods being sold at a business is the difference between Americans going once a year, or once a week. “People go to fast food at a high frequency. They don’t necessarily go shopping for a sweater every day, but they eat food every day.”

It should come as no surprise that most of these companies have made concerted effort to expand their products, with varying degrees of success. Walmart, for example, has expanded its business to offer groceries, and even has fast food restaurants in the store. Starbucks has expanded its menu options to include breakfast sandwiches and other meals. McDonald’s new McCafe coffee brand has been very successful. These are all new services devised to make more money on existing customers, bring in a new set of customers, and to bring them in more often.

While the type of goods and services being offered by these companies is critical, the other is their dominant national presence. These companies have thousands of locations all over the country. Rare is the American town without a McDonald’s, Burger King, Taco Bell, Subway, or some combination of the three. McDonald’s had more than 14,000 locations in the U.S. in 2012, while Subway had more than 25,000 stores.

Using figures recently published by Placed Insights, 24/7 Wall St. compiled a list of the most visited stores in America. To assess how profitable and popular these stores were, we also consulted companies’ financial statements. Same-store sales growth, systemwide sales, and other measures of store performance were provided by research firms RetailSails and Technomic. Stock prices are for the parent company that owns the store.

These are America’s most popular stores.

Sponsored: Tips for Investing

A financial advisor can help you understand the advantages and disadvantages of investment properties. Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.

Investing in real estate can diversify your portfolio. But expanding your horizons may add additional costs. If you’re an investor looking to minimize expenses, consider checking out online brokerages. They often offer low investment fees, helping you maximize your profit.