While grocery as a whole grew 4.2% to £119.8bn in the last 12 months, c-stores grew their sales by 4.9% to £23.9bn, according to IGD.
Its 2005 Convenience Retailing Report says that average store sales in the
convenience market rose 7.7% year-on-year. The report also says 1,600 stores closed across the market in the past year.
The biggest winners were the likes of Tesco, Sainsbury and independent operators with more than 10 stores.
This sector is now achieving four times greater sales per store on average than non-affiliated independents.
The biggest decline in store numbers has come from these small independents, down in number by about 6,000 stores during the past two years.
However, this rate of decline is set to bottom out in the next five years, with 3,000 stores to leave the sector by 2010, with some 24,000 shops remaining.
However, many of these are likely to be picked up by symbol groups or multiples. In the run up to 2010, symbols will have the biggest rises in numbers, growing by 300 stores annually, while co-ops and convenience multiples will both up their numbers by 100 each year.
“This research makes the case for independents to join a symbol group,” said IGD’s James Walton. “The non-affiliated stores today make up 50% of total stores but with 31.2% share of sales. Symbol groups hold 23% of stores and their sales also account for 31.2%. Symbol groups massively overtrade in comparison.”
>>p36 IGD report; p38 Symbols