The number of stores in the UK convenience sector has grown marginally over the past 12 months, increasing by 0.4 per cent, according to the latest data from IGD Retail Analysis and William Reed Business Media.
“The increase in convenience-store numbers might be small, but it’s nevertheless a sign of the enduring appeal of small stores,” IGD CEO Joanne Denney-Finch said.
“However, with other formats such as online and discounters growing in popularity, convenience stores will have to work ever harder to gain growth in the future. But we believe there are some really clear opportunities for this part of the market.”
One such opportunity is the younger generation, according to IGD, with 19 per cent of 18-25-year-olds surveyed in the UK mainly shopping in convenience stores – more than double the proportion of those aged 26 and over (seven per cent).
IGD says food to go represents a huge opportunity, with 83 per cent of convenience-store shoppers interviewed saying they could be encouraged to buy more food to go at their main convenience store.
“Convenience stores need to offer shoppers convenient and effortless ways to get the products, meals and food-to-go options they want, in the shortest time possible,” Ms Denney-Finch said.
“Those operators that get this combination right have a unique opportunity to build on changing shopper habits.”
UK convenience store breakdown