Former him! chief Tom Fender, Nisa chief executive Neil Turton and Forecourt Trader’s publisher William Reed Business Media have announced the incorporation and launch of him! International, a new and autonomous sister company to him! research & consulting UK. him! international will provide clients with sector, shopper and retailer insights from convenience and food-to-go markets around the world.

Explaining the venture, Fender and Turton pointed out that convenience retailing is one of the biggest growth trends in food retailing, not just in the UK, or even Europe, but globally, as consumer lifestyle changes mean shoppers are looking to “top-up” little and often, locally, with food-to-go and meal solutions in high demand. With the pace of change so fast, suppliers and retailers need shopper insights to shape their strategies.

Turton said: “We wanted to work under the him! brand because there has been no company which has focused so obsessively on small format shoppers, for so long, than him! in the UK. Him! is famous for compelling shopper insights. We want to take the great work him! does in the UK and internationalise it.”

Fender and Turton say that the markets in each country are at different stages of the convenience evolution – and they want to help all convenience operators around the world fast-track their growth and leverage every opportunity that presents itself.

Him! international will interview shoppers around the world to help retailers and suppliers implement strategies based on robust shopper insight. Retailers will also be encouraged to learn from other retailers in their market, and him! international aims to help entire country markets learn from other markets too.

“Proximity Retailing” as it’s called in many nations involves gas station shops and convenience stores like we know in the UK, but it can also include discounters, kiosks and specialist outlets like bakers which are all competing for a share of the convenience spend. With food-to-go also a massive global growth consumer trend, it’s expected there will be lessons for UK operators too.

Him! international will commence activities immediately under the management of Tom Fender. Neil Turton will join when he has completed his notice period at Nisa in spring 2015.