Value sales in independent convenience stores in Scotland in the 52 weeks ending 30 July 2023 were 4.6% higher than a year ago, which is ahead of growth in total GB (+0.3%), according to SmartView Convenience from TWC Group.
The market read, which comprises a reflective sample of around 5,000 independent retail and wholesaler-supplied symbol stores in GB, showed that the strongest performing categories in Scotland over the period were crisps, snacks & nuts (+21.4%), chilled (+18.5%), confectionery (+15.2%) and soft drinks (+10.9%). Edible grocery catering (+40.4%) and bread & cakes (+20.8%) showed substantial increases but from a smaller base.
The biggest category, tobacco, which has a 29.5% share of value sales in Scotland, showed a 2.5% decline. Other categories that were down were wines & spirits (-3%), beers, lagers & ciders (-4.3%) and food to go (-1.9%).
In a separate consumer study commissioned by TWC, 800 Scottish consumers were asked about the role of local independent convenience stores in their community. The top response was ‘being open and available when consumers need them’, followed by offering jobs to local people.
Scottish consumers also recognised the importance of independent convenience stores in maintaining a community spirit in the area. The next responses recognised the efforts of retailers to support their customers by trying to keep prices competitive and by offering good deals, offers and promotions.
Commenting on the results, Tom Fender, development director at TWC, said: “Data from SmartView Convenience confirms that the independent retail sector in Scotland is robust and there is plenty of room for optimism given that inflation is now beginning to fall and consumer confidence is rising.
“Consumers recognise the importance of their local store and continue to support these businesses, which they see as an important part of their local community.”