Community-owned shops are continuing to prove their resilience in the economic downturn, a new report by The Plunkett Foundation has revealed.

According to the foundation 19 new shops opened in 2011, with the highest concentration being in the South East with seven, closely followed by the South West with five.

In addition to openings, there has been a steady increase in awareness of the community ownership model, with more communities exploring the model for themselves. Plunkett’s Community Retail Team handled 130 new enquiries from communities seeking advice and support in setting up a new community shop, averaging at 11 new enquiries each month throughout 2011.

In total, Plunkett is currently working with 149 communities, helping them to explore setting up a community shop.

Local food was touted as the hero product range in 2011. The foundation helped 114 stores to expand their local food offering in 2011 and 62% reported significant increases in sales following the expansion of local food ranges.