Convenience stores in Scotland stay in business but shed jobs

Shopper with facemask

The number of convenience stores in Scotland has stayed broadly the same in the past year (5,037), but there has been a loss of 5,000 jobs in the sector, a new report reveals.

The report from the Scottish Grocers Federation shows that while stores have put a significant amount of effort into staying open and staying in business – in 2021 retailers invested a total of £62m in their businesses – this has been at the cost of jobs. It is likely that the jobs losses have been greater in those stores in town and city centre locations where there has been a drastic reduction in footfall.

In an indication of the move towards shopping locally, average basket spend by customers in convenience stores rose from £7.46 in 2020 to £10.82 in 2021. Community remained at the heart of stores, with 76% of customers knowing their retailer well enough to have a chat with them, and 82% of convenience retailers regularly involved in community activities.

SGF chief executive, Pete Cheema, said: “Convenience stores have played a huge part in supporting customers and communities through the pandemic. Retailers have been determined to stay open but this has meant that jobs have been lost. If there has been a positive outcome of the pandemic it is that people in Scotland have embraced shopping locally and we can see that spending in convenience stores has increased markedly. Convenience stores are in a unique position to support customers and communities and this has grown during the pandemic.”

Other key statistics from the report include:

  • In 2021 colleagues in the convenience sector worked a combined 9.6 million hours.
  • The average store is open for 14 hours per day.
  • Convenience stores provide very local jobs – the average travel to work time for staff is 10 minute.
  • On average, there are around 4,100 different Stock Keeping Units sold in a c-store in the course of a year.