Independent convenience stores in Scotland have outperformed the rest of Great Britain with a 4.6% sales increase in the year to July, say the latest figures from data provider TWC Group.

The strongest performing categories in Scotland over the period were crisps, snacks and nuts (up 21.4%), chilled (up 18.5%), confectionery (up 15.2%) and soft drinks (up 10.9%), according to the analyst’s SmartView Convenience market read.

Tobacco sales were down by 2.5%, wines and spirits by 3%, and beer and cider by 4.3%. Newspapers and magazines fell by 23%.

The survey is made up of a representative sample of some 5,000 independent retail and wholesaler-supplied symbol stores in Great Britain.

In a separate consumer study commissioned by TWC, 800 Scottish consumers were asked about the value of local independent convenience stores to 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.

They also valued the efforts of retailers to support their customers by trying to keep prices competitive and offering good deals, offers and promotions.

Tom Fender, development director at TWC, said: “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.”

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