In recent years we have seen a real resurgence in the strength of the convenience sector, with circa 50,000 stores across the UK the sector has been valued at £38billion, statistics from the Local Shop Report (which can be downloaded here).
The convenience market is widely viewed as a key driver of growth in the retail sector with market value expected to rise to £42billion by 2021 but how are the major UK supermarket chains reacting?
Paul Moody, specialist retail agent in our London office commented on the shift, “In recent years the convenience sector has experienced significant growth with shopping behaviours shifting towards consumers typically making smaller, but more frequent purchases as opposed to the more traditional weekly shop.
“In recent years, we have seen a variety of tactics deployed by the larger supermarkets with Tesco Express, Sainsbury’s Local, Co-operative Group, Morrisons and Waitrose all competing for market share. Many retailers have made the move to expand their convenience store offering, while some have decided to withdraw from the market all together.
“Most notably in 2015 Morrisons sold their 140 M Local convenience stores, while in more recent news the Co-operative Group have completed a takeover of Nisa Retail, a group owned by more than a thousand independent store owners, supplying over 2,500 outlets. The deal is expected to be approved by March”
In a recent article from the Retail Gazette the Co-op Food chief executive Jo Whitfield said the acquisition would provide an opportunity to create an even greater member-led presence within the UK’s convenience grocery sector.