First, the good news: the convenience sector isn’t in bad shape right now. Store numbers rose by 1.3% to just over 41,300 last year [Grocery Retail Structure 52 w/e 1 April 2016].
Trouble is, for independent retailers at least, the major mults and co-operatives are driving that growth. Co-op store numbers climbed 3.1% to nearly 3,000; the grocery multiples opened 220 new c-stores during that period, a rise of 5.3% to 4,383 stores. Unaffiliated indie stores rose 1.9% to 19,000.
How should convenience retailers rise to these challenges?
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