An exclusive poll by Convenience Store reveals the true impact of the UK's unstable economy on convenience retailers

Barely a day goes by without newspaper headlines screaming about the state of the economy, and convenience retailers are expecting to be hit by the credit crunch, our exclusive survey reveals.
The poll of 100 retailers, conducted by The Knowledge Store on behalf of Convenience Store, shows that 85% are concerned about the economy, and 92% expect spending to be squeezed this year. In addition, the state of the economy has a direct effect on the strength of 79% of respondents' businesses.
Of the 92 retailers that expect a spending squeeze, 23 said every category would be affected, while 17 claimed non-essentials would suffer, 17 cited alcohol and 16 cited tobacco. A third of respondents said the economic situation would influence their range, with 15 intending to introduce more value ranges, 10 heading for pricemarked packs and six intending to run more promotions.
The stability of the economy has had an impact on investment plans, too, with 24% saying they had put plans on hold. Of the 23% that have applied for funds recently, 6% believe the 'credit crunch' affected its availability.
The expectation of growth is quite mixed with only 13% of respondents saying they were very confident of growing their business this year. A further 33% said they were quite confident, 39% claimed to be not very confident, and 15% not at all confident.

Q1 Are you concerned about
the state of the UK economy?

Yes 85%
No 12%
Don't know 3%

Q2 Does the state of the economy affect the strength of your business?

Yes 79%
No 20%
Don't know 1%

Q3 Do you expect consumer spending to be squeezed this year?

Yes 92%
No 6%
Don't know 2%

Q3a If yes, which categories do you expect to be affected the most?

Everything 23%
Luxuries/non-essentials 17%
Alcohol 17%
Tobacco 16%
Confectionery 5%
Basics (milk/bread and so on) 4%
Groceries 3%
News/magazines 2%
Soft drinks 1%
Sandwiches 1%
Premium brands 1%
Don't know 4%

Q4 Are you likely to change your range because of the economic situation?

No 64%
Yes 33%
Don't know 3%

Q4a What changes will you make?

Stock more value ranges 15%
Stock more pricemarked packs 10%
Run more promotions 6%
Find alternative sources of supply 2%
Analyse sales more frequently 1%
Buy more in bulk 1%
Reduce range 1%
Add a café 1%
Cancel alcohol licence (too expensive) 1%

Q5 Have you put any investment plans on hold because of the economic situation?

No 74%
Yes 24%
Don't know 2%

Q6 Has the 'credit crunch' affected availability of credit for your business?

Haven't applied for any 77%
No 17%
Yes 6%

Q7 How confident are you
about growing your business
during this year?

Not at all confident 15%
Not very confident 39%
Quite confident 33%
Very confident 13%

Source: The Knowledge Store