How is Covid-19 impacting the UK’s Independent Convenience Stores market?
Mercieca IQ

The pressure and reliance on the UK grocery retail market continues to be acute in such unprecedented times. Lockdown triggered the biggest monthly fall in UK retail sales according to the British Retail Consortium. However, there is a big divide between food and non-food with supermarket sales as high as 50% up in March. A recent poll from YouGov relates favourably to the independent and symbol group convenience market, with 23% visiting/using corner shops more frequently than they normally would which in comparison is higher than any other routes including online groceries or supermarket shopping.

The importance of these shops shouldn’t be underestimated. Convenience retailers have always been at the heart of local communities and never more so than now, as they rapidly adapt to evolving market conditions and changing shopper behaviour.

Brands have a crucial role to play and it’s more important than ever to understand how they are performing across these stores, to action positive change within the supply chain and enable retailers to best serve their customers.

In this report we share key findings from EPOS data gained at store level from 5029 independent symbol and unaffiliated convenience stores located across the UK, including Bestway, Costcutter, Londis, Nisa, Parfetts, Premier and other leading facias.

Since Covid-19 special measures were introduced weekly sales across these convenience stores have continued to increase significantly, with week-on-week growth back to a near high following the Easter weekend.

This translates at store level with increasing sales year-on-year within convenience albeit at fluctuating levels. Yet more evidence of heightened importance levels of stores serving communities across this sector

The ongoing trend continues of higher basket spend but fewer transactions year-on-year demonstrating consumers have adapted their shopping habits within convenience.

Category performance across convenience is variable week-to-week with frozen (including ice cream), alcohol and soft drinks continuing to over-index strongly. Hardware is notable for weekly sales growth due to warmer weather and potential lockdown fatigue setting in.

With frozen once again the leading category, it’s clear the warm weather helped boost ice cream sales last week and in particular for Wall's branded ice creams at the expense of some other brands.


Our data insights show how increasingly important independent convenience stores are in supporting their local communities with what they need and want. These retailers are proving adaptable and flexible in-line with consumer demand but they do need help. Pressure on the supply chain has never been more intense as brands need to truly understand how they are performing at store level to impact positive change.


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 plan for future opportunities.

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


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