At the start of September, we published the Local Shop Report 2013. When we launched the report last year, our primary intention was to inform MPs and government departments about the contribution that local shops make to the economy. We didn’t expect that the report would have such a positive impact within the sector itself, with retailers and suppliers giving us incredibly positive feedback about the value of the report.
The publication also reinforces the message that the local shop is often found on a petrol forecourt and this part of the market has driven some of the most significant innovation in our sector.
The main message from this year’s report is that the overall picture is a positive one. Convenience store retailing is worth over £35bn to the UK economy, now employing around 375,000 people in 49,888 stores from all walks of life and ethnic backgrounds. The sector is still dominated by independent stores which make up 77% of the market.
In terms of the performance of different parts of the market, symbol groups contribute the lions’ share of sales, with multiples contributing a similar amount to non-affiliated independents, despite having a base of stores that is one-fifth of the size. The report has highlighted however, that forecourts have faced some challenges over the past year, with sales decreasing slightly due to the closure of around 200 sites.
In this year’s report we have also taken a look at what the future might hold for the convenience sector. There are a number of developing trends that are likely to have a major impact on the way that stores trade in the coming years, one of which is the influence of diverse service provision. Cafés, deli counters, pharmacies and takeaway outlets in stores are becoming more prominent, especially in the forecourt sector as stores establish a point of difference.
Over the coming weeks, we will be taking the findings of the Local Shop Report to every MP in Parliament with detailed information about the stores in their constituency and the people that those stores employ. The whole report is available free to download from the ACS website at www.acs.org.uk/research, or if you would like a constituency card with more detail about your area, give us a call on 01252 515001.