The Scottish convenience store market has grown to produce annual sales of over £4bn.
According to the “Scottish Local Shop Report”, produced by the Scottish Grocers’ Federation in partnership with its UK counterpart, convenience stores in Scotland have proved to be surprisingly resilient in the face of competition from not only the Big Four but also the growth of discount supermarket chains Aldi and Lidl.
“For the first time we have Scottish-specific data that shows the enormous impact on the national economy of the independent convenience store sector,” said SGF Chief Executive Pete Cheema.
According to the report, 5,602 convenience stores operate in Scotland, which is more per head than any other region in the UK with one for every 946 people. The sector supports over 45,000 jobs and, according to Cheema, contributes to a “local multiplier effect.”
“The value of sales and the value of the jobs provided by the sector make a further contribution to Scotland’s economy. If we consider that convenience stores provide vital routes to market for our manufacturers and wholesalers then the impact is even greater.”
The point was reiterated by Scott Graham, owner of the McLeish convenience store in Inverurie which was recently named the winner of the UK Convenience Store of the Year award.
“There are a lot of economic benefits to the sector,” said Graham. “In addition to being a great starting place for young people in the workplace, we work with a number of local suppliers, providing them with a platform to grow their sales.”
The overall contribution of convenience stores to Scotland’s economy is to be further investigated in a study undertaken by the University of Stirling.
“Preliminary data gathered for the project suggests that a typical store re-invests between £250m000 and £440,000 each year back into the local economy simply by using local tradespeople, local suppliers and by providing jobs for local people,” Cheema continued.