As I write this it’s pouring with rain and I spent most of yesterday driving through the remnants of an Atlantic hurricane, but that doesn’t alter the fact that, by British standards, this has been a pretty good summer.
And I’m not just talking about the weather. Independents speaking to C-Store over the past couple of weeks have reported nothing but good news about sales.
It’s more proof that the convenience format is resilient and increasingly popular with consumers. Of course, this hasn’t gone unnoticed by multiple retailers, who continue to push ahead with plans for smaller format stores, but such is the dynamism in the market that in net terms value sales in the market are growing ahead of store openings (5.2% up in value terms, and 1.3% up in volume terms). This is very different picture to the supermarket and superstore sector, where like-for-like sales are flat or down.
The rewards come at a cost, however, as increasing choice in the market means that consumers are able to exercise ever-increasing demands for quality and value. So in order to be a player you need to be investing in equipment, product range and in-store environment to meet shoppers’ needs for fresh and chilled food, product availability and service.
It’s not an easy jump to make, but the pages of this magazine are full of retailers who have done it, and who are reaping the rewards.