The convenience sector is proving far more resilient than the British high street, according to Steve Rodell, managing director – retail, at specialist business property adviser Christie & Co.
He contrasted the experience of the c-store sector with recent problems in the high street, where closures or difficulties facing large retailers, such as Toys R Us, Debenhams, and HMV, have led to almost 20,000 jobs being lost or put at risk.
There has been a decline in employment in the convenience store sector, but it is much slower than reported on the high street, and it continues to grow year-on-year.
He said: “Figures from the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) show that between 2016 and 2018, there were 25,000 fewer jobs, going from 290,000 to 265,000. This three-year period shows a similar decline compared with the three-month period on the high street, demonstrating a much slower rate.
“This is down to the largely independent nature of the sector, which means that convenience store owners can survive by reducing other employees’ hours and spending more time in the store themselves. “
He added that as consumer confidence weakens, people are less likely to do a large supermarket shop and will instead do more frequent, top-up shops at convenience stores.
He concluded: “While convenience retailing has not been immune to job losses or struggles, with the likes of Conviviality entering administration in 2018 and more recently Oddbins in January 2019, it has remained resilient due to increasing consumer demand and cost-efficient operations.”