Silver linings

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Given the ever-challenging trading conditions retailers face and the hyper-competitive nature of the grocery retail market, 2019 may prove to be a challenging year – and that’s before we disappear down the Brexit rabbit hole. However, there are several key indicators which mean that year 2019 could be a profitable one for convenience stores.

Between 2017 and 2018, turnover in the sector grew by almost 3%. Additionally, retailers in Scotland invested almost £80m in their businesses and the average shopper continued to visit their local store almost four times every week.

There are also some good grounds for optimism behind some of the headline statistics. Although household spending fell during most of 2018, spend on food, drink and tobacco grew by 1.7%. If the financial crash and subsequent recession taught us anything it’s the importance to the economy overall – and to our sector in particular – of household spending.

Going further into 2019 it might be a good time to focus on getting the basics right. Milk, bread, news, fruit and veg are still crucial and haven’t really been impacted by the legislation and policy restrictions that we have 
seen impacting on other categories.

There are clouds of gloom hanging over the wider retail sector – particularly for High Street retail – but within this the convenience sector remains resilient. A bigger task for us in 2019 is to make sure we don’t get buried by the bad news and that the key suppliers and stakeholders who invest in our sector understand how strong and resilient it is.

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