Thanks for Visiting!

Register for free to get the full story.

Sign Up
Already have a account? Log In

Placer Bytes: Wawa and Tesla

R.J. Hottovy and Thomas Paulson
May 2, 2022
Placer Bytes: Wawa and Tesla

In this Placer Bytes, we use foot traffic data to dive into two opposing sides of the driving landscape – Wawa and Tesla. 

Wawa’s Expansion 

Wawa recently announced plans to double its current store base over the next 10 years. At present, the convenience store and gas station chain operates 965 stores across Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, Florida, D.C, but according to an interview by CEO Chris Gheysens in the Philadelphia Business Journal, the company aspires to operate 1,800 locations by 2030 with a focus on existing markets and filling in the gap between Florida and Virginia, including North Carolina. To carry out its aggressive expansion, Wawa will utilize a smaller format concept (under 3K square feet) including a pick-up window along with a new drive-thru only format

These are ambitious growth plans, but Wawa has a track record of successful expansions into new territories. Foot traffic to Wawa has increased consistently in recent years and monthly visits were up by 100% in January 2022 compared to January 2019. 

One of the best predictors of a retailer’s expansion potential is the company’s past performance as it moved past its home market. Typically, there is a drop-off in visits per location trends as a brand moves away from its first market and expands into new territories. However, that’s not the case with Wawa, which has posted higher visits per location figures in nearly every state outside its home state of Pennsylvania. This suggests that Wawa has the brand equity needed to reach these ambitious store targets.

And Wawa is not your typical convenience store – its visits per location have outperformed its peers every year for the past four years. In 2021, the average gas station/convenience store generated about 100K in visits per location (roughly in line with the average visits per QSR location), while Wawa approached the 450K visits per location mark. 

Some of this outperformance is a byproduct of legacy Wawa stores’ larger format (averaging 6K square feet) and expanded food selection. But even after adjusting for size, Wawa still leads its peers by a wide margin, which also bodes well for the company’s ambitious growth plans.

 Tesla’s Auto Production

The global semiconductor chip shortage is ongoing, and analysts expect the supply constraints to ease in the second half of 2022. But while US car production is still significantly below pre-pandemic levels, automotive output has already begun to pick up steam, with March marking the third straight month of increase in US factory activity. Should US auto production continue to grow, the economic implications will be felt beyond the dealerships. The low supply of new cars and subsequent high prices of used cars is one of the factors contributing to rising inflation throughout the country. 

Still, one car company does not seem to feel the pinch. Tesla produced a record 305K vehicles and delivered over 310K in Q1 2022 despite ongoing supply chain challenges and factory shutdowns. (For reference, 2021 production was 800K).  Production has commenced at its plants in Texas and Berlin, giving the company the capacity to produce 1.3M units globally in 2023. 

Tesla was able to offset inflationary cost pressures by raising its selling prices – but foot traffic data shows that the higher prices are not deterring customers from visiting Tesla dealerships. Since August 2021, visits to Tesla showrooms have been growing significantly more than foot traffic to competing dealerships, with March 2022 visits up 46.7% compared to January 2022.  It’s worth noting that Tesla makes 4.5X more per unit than Ford and 2.8X more per unit than BMW – demonstrating that Electric Vehicles (EVs) can have not only big revenue, but big margins.

According to the company’s Q1 2022 quarterly report, Tesla significantly increased both its total gross profits and total gross margins compared to Q1 2021 –  providing evidence that the major Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) can reach higher margins and higher levels of profits once they transition to scaled EV production. Should they do so, EV showrooms and service stations are going to become a sizable and sustainable new category in commercial real estate. 

For more data-driven CRE insights, sign up for our newsletter.

Get 3 brand & industry
breakdowns every week

Subscribe to the newsletter

Great! Prepare your inbox for data-driven insights...
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Get a Demo

Please enter your first name
Please enter your last name
Please provide a valid email
Please enter your email
Please enter company name

Thanks for reaching out!

One of our experts will be in touch soon

Try Free
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Crocs’ Footwear Fairytale
Who Attends NCAA Final Four Events?
Eclipse Fever: How Did the (Retail and Hospitality) Stars Align?
Exploring Albertsons Companies’ Grocery Growth Mall Index: March 2024 Recap – Malls Rise Again Office Index: March 2024 Recap
Florida Spring Break Break-Up? Travelers Still Love Florida!
Provo-Orem and Ogden-Clearfield Emerging As Utah Hotspots 
Three Formulas for Experiential Retail in 2024
Aldi & Lidl Making The Cut
Texas Suburbs on the Rise
Exploring Luxury Hotel Brands’ Guest Segmentation
The St. Patrick’s Day Effect
How Can JOANN Make a Comeback?
Panera Bread Well Positioned for Possible IPO
Who Will Benefit From Family Dollar’s Downsizing?
Dave & Buster’s and Main Event Entertainment: Food and Fun for Everyone
Darden Brands: Location Analytics and Consumer Behavior
Nike and lululemon: a Strong 2023, Sprinting into 2024
Where Is Retail and Dining Foot Traffic Thriving in Early 2024? White Paper Recap – February 2024
Three Retail & Dining Chains That May Surprise in 2024
Specialty Discount Chains Rock Retail Therapy Mall Index: February 2024 Office Index: February 2024 Recap
Ulta Beauty Continues To Shine
First Watch Sails Into 2024
Hibbett Sports and DICK’S Sporting Goods: A Psychographic Analysis
Checking in With Discount & Dollar Stores
Peeking Behind The Curtain: Movie Theaters in 2023 and Beyond
Diving Into Brick-and-Mortar Eyewear
Getting Into Gear: Exploring The Auto Part Industry
Recapping Valentine’s Day 2024 Foot Traffic Trends
Fitness: A Strong Start to 2024
Dutch Bros. Continues To Percolate Visits
Super Bowl 2024:’s Postgame Foot Traffic Analysis
CAVA & sweetgreen Are On the Rise
Hats Off For Off-Price
Who Is Shopping at Malls?
Drilling Down Into Home Improvement
Walmart, Target, Costco & Superstore Space 2023 Recap
Catching Up With Shake Shack and Wingstop
Something To Chew On: Demographic Shifts at Steakhouse Chains Office Index: Looking Back at 2023
Recapping RBI & Yum! Brands’ 2023 Foot Traffic Performance White Paper Recap – January 2024
Who Shops at Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters?
Three Taco Chains to Watch in 2024
Starbucks and Dunkin’: 2023 in Four Data Points
Who Visits CVS and Walgreens?
Fashionably Frugal: Apparel in 2023
Catching Up With Fast Food
The Grocery Sector in 2023: An End-of-Year Recap
3 Mall & Shopping Center Trends for 2024
Bakery Chains Rising To The Top and Esri Partner to Deliver Geospatial Analytics
Tampa Tourism Trends
Going For The Green: The Changing Dynamics Of Country Clubs
Christmas Day Dining Recap
Major Urban Shopping Districts – Holiday Season Recap Office Index: December 2023 Recap
Recapping the 2023 Holiday Shopping Season White Paper Recap – December 2023
7 Retail & Dining Segments to Watch in 2024
Diving Into Holiday Season Favorites
Super Saturday and Christmas Eve Eve: A Winning Combination
3 Budget Grocery Chains Finishing 2023 On a High Note
Making It In America: International Chicken Chains Bring The Heat
Domestic Tourism at a Glance: A Q3 2023 Roundup
Five Pizza Chains On The Rise
Jewelry Brands Taking Advantage of the DTC Opportunity
Secondhand News: Kids' Thrift Shops
Recapping 2023’s Dining M&As
MetLife Stadium Kicks Off Football Season Office Index: November 2023 Recap
Small Coffee Chains Brewing Big Success White Paper Recap – November 2023
Thanksgiving Travel 2023 Recap
Checking in With Nike and Lululemon
Black Friday 2023 Retail Recap
Starbucks’ 2023 Holiday Menu & Red Cup Day Performance
Turkey Wednesday 2023
Who Attended the 2023 Pickleball Championship? 
Three Surprising Holiday Shopping Trends
What’s in Store for Ulta Beauty This Holiday Season?
Best Buy and Department Stores: A Holiday Deep Dive
Discount & Dollar Stores: Strength Toward The End of the Year
The State of Off-Price Retail: Discounts Seal The Deal
Placer Mall Index Recap: October 2023 Office Index: October 2023 Recap
Retail Corridors Ahead of the 2023 Holiday Season
California, Here Gap Comes
Checking in With Home Improvement
Getting Into the Glasses Game: Warby Parker Takes Over
Fitness Positioned for a Strong 2023 Finish
White Paper Recap: October 2023
Coffee Giants Brewing Up Business
Popeyes and Burger King Lead the Way
Diving into Yum!
Looking Ahead to Black Friday 2023