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C-Stores need to focus on making shopping more exciting and enjoyable

C-Stores need to focus on making shopping more exciting and enjoyable

Talking Retail  is reporting that convenience stores will need to work hard to grow sales ahead of inflation over the next few years by focusing on ease of shop, making the shopping experience more pleasurable, and surprising and exciting their shoppers. That was one of the key messages emerging from speakers at this year’s IGD Live conference, which is taking place in London from 6 to 7 November. Guy Ousey, head of event content at the IGD, said that while the UK convenience sector was set to grow by £6.9bn to £48.2bn over the next five years, most of that growth would be driven by inflation and c-stores needed to invest to stay ahead of the curve. Michael Freedman, senior shopper insight manager at the IGD, said the think-tank’s own research showed that while consumers shopped in a c-store twice a week on average, they did not really enjoy the experience. While in 2019, 92% of shoppers were planning to use convenience outlets, that falls to just 53% in 2021 to 2022. The figure was unlikely to reflect actual behaviour in two to three years’ time, he conceded, but it did indicate their dissatisfaction.

Retailers increase their cash & carry spend

Convenience Store is reporting that the research firm HIM’s UK Wholesale Market Report 2019 indicates that average spend per visit by retailers at cash & carry wholesalers has risen from £858 in 2018 to £1,205 in 2019, an increase of 40%. At the same time, average trip frequency has increased from 2.8 times a week last year to three in 2019, indicating that retailers are not only spending more per trip but also visiting more often. According to HIM, the increase is driven by a reduction in the number of distress top-up missions and a rise in the number of main restock missions. All major product categories have seen an increase in spending through cash & carry, with tobacco purchased by 45% of retailers in the survey (up from 41% in 2018), alcohol by 59% (up from 53%) and soft drinks by 77% (up from 72%). Purchase values through delivered wholesale have also increased year-on-year, but less strongly, with the average spend per order rising from £2,955 to £3,170.

Sainsbury’s to step up C-Store improvements

Talking Retail is reporting that Sainsbury’s plans to refurbish 200 convenience stores over its next financial year after improving 158 in the 28 weeks to 21stSeptember.  The company said it had successfully tailored the Sainsbury’s Local convenience store offer to each local market, “driving strong underlying sales growth.” It added “Convenience has industry leading trading intensity and outperforms the market in value and volume”

Barclays abandons Post Office cash machine plans

Better Retailing is reporting that Barclays has abandoned its plans to prevent its customers from withdrawing cash from post offices. In early October, the bank had announced plans to end the service from the beginning of 2020. The move sparked criticism from independent retailers, trade groups, politicians, customers and the Post Office, forcing Barclays to backtrack. The banking group’s chief executive, Jes Staley, admitted: “We have been persuaded to rethink our proposals by the argument that our participation in the Post Office Banking Framework is crucial to the Post Office network.” Staley said the bank would provide a “full service” through the Post Office for three years, but said “inherent” problems with the Post Office’s model made him concerned for the future of banking through the organisation.

David Gilroy

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