By 2022, convenience will be ‘king’ to the detriment of out of town retail outlets, according to a leading thinktank.

A new report from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) found that “big-box out of town one-stop shop formats” were becoming increasingly undermined by online purchasing. “Although this has been a defining retail trend for the last two decades, retailers may have overextended themselves,” said chief retail analyst Jon Copestake.

He added that the rate of growth of out of town units had become unpopular with communities and prompted planning issues with regulators.

As a result strategies will continue to shift in the direction of small, centrally located stores with a targeted product range, supplying prepared foods and impulse goods that meet shoppers’ more immediate needs, the report said. “Such shopping will be topped up by less regular visits to larger stores or through online shopping.”

However, the report also predicted that the prevalence of major retail brands will grow as the number of specialist or independent retailers on the high street shrinks.

“The opportunities for retail over the next decade and beyond are enormous,” said Copestake. “But where the future markets will reside and the way in which we will buy goods change dramatically. Retailers will need to evolve to adapt to this new landscape.”