The recent wet weather has failed to dampen sales in convenience stores, contrary to retailers’ low expectations in such conditions.
Even in the South West, which was one of the worst-affected areas with flood warnings issued for Devon, Dorset and Somerset, retailers reported solid trading over the past fortnight.
Jason Tamplin of Symonds Budgens in Wells, Somerset, saw sales in some categories grow due to the wet weather. “Customers were buying more snacks and alcohol as they were preparing to have evenings in,” he said. “Cigarettes also did really well as people were stocking up.”
Fellow Somerset retailer Shellie Critchley of Croscombe Village Stores also saw a recent increase in trade. “Everyday essentials such as milk and bread have really sold well as people are wary of running out,” she said. “But fresh meats have also done really well in the past week.”
Adam Vincent of Dike & Son in Stalbridge, Dorset, said that while the number of shoppers in his store had recently reduced, basket spend had increased. “We’ve had constant rain for 10 days and as a result the store has been quieter compared to this time last year,” he said. “But those that are coming in seem to be buying more.”
He believes that changing consumer attitudes may also have had an impact. “People are shopping in different ways now, we see a lot more customers with shopping lists when previously they just topped up,” said Adam. “They’re buying more than just what they need for tonight and hopefully they’re also realising that independent retailers are as good value as the multiples.”
Other parts of the country also saw solid business. Gateshead Nisa retailer Saki Ghafoor said that while the rain washed away any additional business that he would usually receive in warm weather, sales for the past few weeks were on par with last year. “Perhaps its people trying to save on fuel but I’ve noticed that people are using us more no matter what the weather,” he said.