The independent convenience sector is still reeling from Costcutter and P&H’s announcement last month that they were joining forces to create the UK’s second-biggest symbol operator.

But there was yet more seismic activity this week when Tesco’s c-store chain One Stop revealed it was going to offer a franchise model to indies.

” Some indies have recoiled in undisguised horror”

Beth Phillips, deputy news editor

Reaction to the move is pretty mixed, with some eager to sign up, but others recoiling in undisguised horror. Tesco is viewed as ‘the enemy’ by many indies who have fought hard against Tesco’s more than 2,100 Express and One Stop stores. But a franchise will also give them the opportunity to tap into Tesco’s world-class buying power, expertise and distribution - something that will be difficult to ignore.

And with scant details currently available, how it will actually work? Why would Tesco want an independent operator to run a One Stop? How much ‘independence’ would an indie actually have? And would indies get existing One Stops or new sites?

One thing’s for sure, the UK c-store sector is an exciting place to be right now.