Symbol group operators are expected to account for half of UK convenience store sales by 2020, according to the latest research published today by IGD.

They currently have a 40% share of c-store sales, worth £13.96 billion, which is nearly three times the value they delivered 10 years ago.

Joanne Denney-Finch, IGD’s chief executive, said: “The convenience channel as a whole goes from strength to strength. We are forecasting it to grow by 29% over the next five years, compared to more than 18% for the overall UK grocery market over the same period.

“The quality of the convenience market continues to improve and symbol groups are playing an important role in this. They provide independent retailers with support across a variety of areas, from product ranges and marketing, to IT and logistics support. This helps them to deliver an excellent convenience service to local shoppers and the communities they serve.

“Our ShopperVista research shows nearly half of shoppers (47%) are extremely or very satisfied with the quality of the products at symbol stores. And there are several opportunities for them to work with suppliers to build the private-label proposition and increase its awareness.”