Coronavirus has had a significant impact on the sector, with stores seeing huge spikes in sales during the early days of lockdown due to shoppers unwilling to venture to the larger stores.
There’s been plenty of comment from individual retailers about the growth in sales but in what other ways has it changed convenience?
The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) published its 2020 Local Shops Report this week. It collects data from the entire sector and breaks it down in key areas of business, community, employment and finance, amongst many others.
When comparing it to the 2019 data, some areas of the sector have seen some interesting shifts over the past 12 months, largely due to the coronavirus.
Average basket spend
Retailers have reaped the rewards of lockdown with more customers spending higher amounts in their stores. Average basket spend jumped from £6.38 in 2019 to £7.46 this year, with categories such as canned & packaged grocery and soft drinks seeing growth year-on-year.
Unfortunately one area that has suffered for retailers during the pandemic is that more of them are taking no holiday. In 2019, 17% of retailers took no holiday however in 2020 that’s increased to 24%. While there have been many stories of retailers working without breaks during coronavirus, the risk to long-term health, both physical and mental, is great, and hopefully that figure will decrease next year.
Store investment also saw a dip year-on-year, down to £585m from £633m in 2019. With the country in recession, the Brexit situation still not fully resolved and lockdown restrictions potentially being introduced, one can forgive retailers for wanting to not spend too much this year. However some have used the extra money generated in lockdown to improve their stores, with refrigeration being the most popular area of investment.
Jobs in the sector
The number of jobs reported in the sector grew from 405,000 in 2019 to 412,000 in 2020. At a time when retail jobs are at serious risk, it’s positive that one area is showing signs of stability and growth, with 72% feeling valued by their employer.