Scotland still c-store tops

More convenience outlets per head than anywhere else in Britain ACS finds

ACS full Local-Shop-Report-2016
The Local Shop Report, available at

IT’S a competitive world in the convenience store business and no more so in than in Scotland.

The latest edition of the Association of Convenience Stores’ Local Shop Report shows that once again citizens of Scotland have more c-stores to choose from, per head of population, than consumers in the rest of Britain.

Of just over 50,000 convenience stores in Great Britain, Scotland accounts for more than 5300 –one store for just under each 1000 people in the country.

Wales runs close with just more than a 1000 to one ratio. In the south-east of England there are said to be almost 1,500 people for each shop.

Across Britain independent businesses account for almost three-quarters of the country’s c-stores and while multiple retailers have made significant inroads into convenience retailing their stores tend to be among the larger sites of around 2000 – 3000 sq ft.

Almost 15,000 stores are run under symbols or fascia and of those around 14,000 are run by independent business people.

Quoting IGD data the ACS report notes that in symbol stores and multiple convenience stores chilled foods now account for 16.6% of sales which is ahead of both tobacco & e-cigarettes and alcohol in the next two places. Fruit and veg is now said to account for more than 7% of sales in such stores, although the report notes that sales patterns in independent stores may be different.

Using figures from the ACS Investment Tracker for 2015-16 the Local Shop Report says over the last year convenience stores have invested £600m in their businesses. The average annual investment in a symbol store was just over £10,700.

Convenience stores provide 390,000 jobs in Great Britain, 60% of the workforce are women. Most workers live close to the store.

It can be a tough life workwise for convenience store entrepreneurs. Almost one in four shop owners work more than 70 hours a week and more than one in five take no holiday over the year.

The Local Shop Report 2016 can be downloaded from the website of the Association of Convenience Stores