Convenience store numbers holding steady, says IGD

The number of convenience stores in the UK remains stable, with growth in certain segments balanced by rationalisation in others, according to the latest data from IGD Retail Analysis and William Reed Business Media, released this week..

Number of stores 2015

Number of stores

2016

Share of stores 2016

%

Stores change 2015 – April 2016

%

Unaffiliated independents

18,700

19,054

38

1.9

Symbol groups

15,169

15,060

30

-0.7

Convenience forecourts[1]

8,745

8,748

17

0.0

Convenience multiples

4,163

4,383

9

5.3

Co-operatives

2,765

2,850

6

3.1

Total convenience

49,542

50,095

100

1.1

Joint ventures[2]

2,312

2,868

 

24.0

Total convenience excluding JVs

47,230

47,227

 

0.0

Source: IGD Retail Analysis and William Reed Business Media, data for year ending 31.03.16

Key findings of the research include:

The multiple and co-operative chains once again grew in store numbers over the last 12 months, although the rate of store openings in the multiple segment has slowed markedly, falling from over 10% in 2015 to just 5% in 2016. This figure is partly attributable to Morrisons selling the core of its convenience portfolio last year.

Unaffiliated independents saw some growth, which is “a significant reversal from recent years”, according to IGD. Rather than new store openings, this growth is primarily the result of rationalisation in the symbol segment. A focus on increasing compliance and discipline has seen several symbol groups downgrade previous members; and these stores now continue to trade on an unaffiliated basis. This also explains the fall in the total number of symbol stores.

Booker’s acquisition of  Londis and Budgens reinforces Premier as the single largest symbol fascia group in the market. Spar also had a successful year of store additions in 2015

For the second year in a row the number of forecourt stores remains  unchanged, suggesting that the long decline in this segment may have bottomed out. However, the ownership structure of this segment continues to undergo significant change. The oil companies have disposed of more than 400 fuel retailing sites over the last year, with many acquired by fast-expanding independent dealer operations- P&H, Bestway and others have all benefited from these changes.

Joanne Denney-Finch, chief executive, IGD, said: “Our figures demonstrate that growth in certain areas of the market over the last 12 months has been tempered by rationalisation in other segments. This has led to overall store numbers remaining stable.

“Our latest ShopperVista research reveals that more people than ever before are top-up shopping, to fit in with their busy lifestyles. Convenience stores have historically been seen as the ‘go-to’ channel for a top-up shop and this remains the case, with 63% of all shoppers visiting c-stores to conduct this type of shop.

“However, convenience is now facing increased competition from other channels that have also spotted the trend for top-up shopping, such as supermarkets and food discounters. Offering shoppers the ability to save time will therefore become increasingly important to convenience retailers as this competition intensifies. We expect to see them building loyalty by giving shoppers convenient and effortless ways to get the products, meals and food-to-go options they want, in the shortest time possible. Whoever manages to get this combination right has a unique opportunity to build on these changing shopper habits and become a real top-up shopping destination.

 

Get Our E-Newsletter - Wholesale News stories in your in-box, delivered weekly.
Will be used in accordance with our Privacy Policy
Share.

About The Author