The concern over rising prices due to supply chain issues resulting from both Covid and Brexit hides the fact that UK consumers have never had more choice of products and locations, and this trend will continue to grow.
The evidence is everywhere. For instance, the new owners of Asda are planning (says the Sunday Times) to open over 400 Asda convenience stores inside petrol stations they own as part of their EG Group estate. This in turn is part of a trend that has been going on for many years where grocers, such as M&S and Waitrose, continue to open convenience outlets at motorway service stations.
This sector continues to embrace the big supermarket brands. And now wholesaler McColl’s, which has its own 1200 store, but is also a partner with Morrisons is converting many of its sites to Morrisons Daily formats.
People want to shop locally
Convenience stores are well placed to take advantage of other trends that have been boosted by Covid, not least growing demand for locally sourced goods. In a March 2021 survey by Barclaycard, nine in 10 of people who have shopped locally say they will continue to do so. A Shopify survey added that 68% of shoppers say a store’s proximity is an important factor in their purchase decision.
Boosted by contactless payments, home delivery and click and collect, and new partnerships with local producers, convenience retail is still growing.
Space does not appear to be an issue given that large retail spaces left empty by department stores and fashion retailers will not remain empty for long once multiple occupancy deals can be agreed.