The convenience sector is forecast to see a rise in sales despite economic uncertainty, according to the Local Shop Report 2022. 

Spearheaded by the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS), the report found that the convenience sector generated around £45 billion in sales during the past year, with sales estimated to grow to around £48 billion by 2025. As the cost of living crisis looms, the ACS emphasised that the convenience sector plays an “essential role” in supporting local communities and boosting the economy, with stores estimated to have paid around £9 billion in taxes between August 2021 and May 2022. 

The report noted that there are 48,590 convenience stores in the UK, 71% of which are operated by independent retailers, either unaffiliated or as part of a symbol group. The remaining 29% consists of multiples, 7% of which are Co-op stores. Overall, the report found that convenience stores invested £605 million in their businesses between August 2021 and May 2022. 

Marking the importance of the convenience sector to the off-trade, alcohol accounted for 18.1% of sales in September 2021, making it the second most prosperous category in convenience stores following tobacco and e-cigarettes. The report also suggested that convenience stores appeal to the increasing number of environmentally-conscious consumers, with 78% of customers agreeing that local shops are good for the environment as more customers can walk to the shops. 

ACS chief executive, James Lowman, said: “This year’s Local Shop Report shows the continued resilience of the convenience sector after the pandemic and in the early stages of the cost of living crisis. Local shops are well placed to support their customers during this difficult time through a diverse range of products and services, helping consumers manage their money and making a really positive impact in the communities that they trade in.”

Lowman also confirmed that the report has been sent to “every MP in Westminster, highlighting just how important we are not only as a sector, but as individual businesses trading in just about every postcode across the UK”.