As lockdown restrictions ease, how are sales performing across the UK’s Independent Convenience Stores?
Mercieca IQ

It’s already well documented within grocery retail that since Covid-19 has taken its grip over the UK, online shopping and convenience have both experienced the strongest growth in demand to meet the changing needs of shoppers.

Convenience stores have been well positioned at the heart of local communities to serve customers faced with more shopping restrictions than ever before. They have had to evolve their businesses to meet increasing logistical challenges and consumer demand.

As lockdown restrictions have been easing across the UK in recent weeks, much commentary across trade media sources is focused on what the ‘new normal’ will look like for retailers, consumers and brands.

We share in this article specifically the generic sales trends across the independent convenience sector and how they fare in a new phase as lockdown restrictions are easing.

In this report we share key findings from EPOS data gained at store level from 5336 independent symbol and unaffiliated convenience stores located across the UK, including Premier, Bestway, Nisa, Parfetts, Londis, Spar, Costcutter and other leading facias.

Sales across the convenience sector have continued to soar ever since Covid-19 special measures were introduced in March. Despite restrictions easing in recent weeks, sales growth is accelerating even further with a record 52.1% week-on-week growth in total store sales last week.

This translates at store level across convenience with significant sales growth year-on-year with last week seeing the highest % increase yet.

An ongoing trend within convenience since the pandemic struck has been higher average basket spend from consumers when they shop, despite the frequency of shopping and footfall decreasing year-on-year. For the first time in 10 weeks however since panic buying was rife across all stores, average store footfall increased last week year-on-year to demonstrate the importance of convenience stores within the new retail landscape.

Performance across key categories within convenience has continued to fluctuate in recent weeks, proving retailers and brands can’t take anything for granted. However, the biggest categories last week in weekly sales growth include frozen, alcohol and soft drinks with exceptional sales value growth also proving the hot weather is helping drive impulse sales.

Further proof, if it was needed, about the impact of hot weather and the ability of convenience stores to drive impulse sales comes from looking at the top value sales growth products (with weekly growth) from the frozen category.

SUMMARY FOR BRANDS:

Our data insights in this report clearly demonstrate how resilient and strong independent convenience stores are proving to be in terms of their sales performance. These stores have had to adapt in the supply chain to meet changing shopper behaviour and increasing consumer demand. With sales continuing to increase despite restrictions easing, it’s both crucial and also a key opportunity for brands to ensure they fully understand their performance across this sector and maximise future opportunities for growth.

THE SOLUTION FOR BRANDS:

Mercieca IQ is a bespoke solution for brands to help meet your needs within convenience. Granular, store level data across multiple sku’s including competitor information enabling brands to adapt in real time to maximise performance and increase their market share.

Get in touch with the convenience specialists at Mercieca IQ today to evaluate how we can help your brand.

Email: iq@mercieca.co.uk

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