Despite a hugely challenging year, there are plenty of positives to be found in the latest SGF Scottish Local Shop Report, the most comprehensive overview of the convenience market available.
The Scottish Local Shop Report 2020 has been published by the Scottish Grocers’ Federation (SGF) and makes for interesting reading, given the flux of the last seven or eight months. Produced by the SGF with the support of their colleagues at the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS), the report is arguably the most comprehensive snapshot available of the Scottish local retailing sector and this year’s report paints a quietly positive picture of the state of the retailing nation.
For the third year in a row, total convenience store numbers have risen again, this time to 5,025 stores. There is more good news in that the sector now employs an additional 3,000 staff, taking the total number of people employed in the local retailing sector to a significant 47,000.
Despite the challenges of tackling Covid-19, convenience retailers somehow find the time, energy and funds to continue to invest heavily in their stores. In Scotland alone, over £62m has been invested by local retailers over the last year with an average annual investment of more than £6,000 per store.
Encouragingly, some 85% of independent Scottish local retailers have engaged in some form of community activity in the past year.
The once burgeoning food to go market has been hit badly by lockdown but the report nonetheless shows that 37% of Scottish stores have a coffee machine, 27% have an in-store bakery, 22% offer hot food to go, 21% have a food preparation area or kitchen and 12% operate a food to go concession.
The wider UK convenience channel now generates annual sales of almost £45bn or, to put it another way, it accounts for about one fifth of the total UK grocery market. The convenience sector also paid almost £9bn in taxes last year.