Sales in community-owned shops are on the increase, a new report has revealed.

According to the ‘A Better Form of Business’ report, published by the Plunkett Foundation, average gross sales in the 273 UK community-owned stores increased by 18.4% in 2011 and like-for-like sales grew by 9.4%.

Peter Couchman, chief executive of the Plunkett Foundation, said: “In a climate that has seen commercial village shops close at a rate of around 400 per year, and the stalling growth for the major retailers, community-owned shops are reporting not only an increase in sales, but are continuing to open in a challenging climate; 23 opened in 2011 and we predict a further 20 to open by the end of 2012.”

The report also revealed that community-owned shops have a 95% survival rate, more than double the average UK business survival rate of 46.8%.

Couchman believes the success of community-owned shops is down to the personal engagement they offer.

“Community-owned shops succeed where commercial ventures have failed because they engage with the whole community,” he said. “When the owners are the customers, the business can directly respond to consumers’ needs in a way that larger retailers just aren’t able to.”