Satisfaction levels have increased among retailers whose symbol groups have experienced recent consolidation, according to shopper insights agency HIM.

HIM’s Symbol Track report was conducted through 1,500 telephone interviews with retailers from 12 different symbol groups, including Best One, Blakemore, Budgens, Costcutter, Go Local, Lifestyle Express, Londis, Mace, Nisa, Premier, Spar and Today’s.

The results benchmark each symbol group across a number of different performance indicators to allow the symbol groups to compare their performance year-on-year and to compare their performance against competition.

The report indicates that retailers that are associated with a symbol group that has been involved in recent consolidations scored higher in satisfaction and feel more valued than they did three years ago. On average, in 2018, 78% of these retailers stated that they felt like a valued customer, compared with just 59% three years ago.

Val Kirillovs, research and insights director at HIM, said: “Despite reports and media attention highlighting negativity towards consolidation, our research indicates that those retailers that are part of a symbol group that has experienced recent consolidation felt more valued than they did in 2015. Each of these symbol groups have stepped up and placed greater focus on customer relationships, through industry advice and BDM support.

“Symbol groups that haven’t experienced consolidation are also growing their retailer satisfaction ratings, with more attention being placed on service, as the competition gets stronger.

“Our report also highlights that tailored support and advice is more important to symbol group retailers than range and availability. Greater focus is being placed on creating a USP and differentiating from competitors and retailers will struggle to do this without the support of their symbol group.”