Convenience store space is the only UK retail sector expected to expand, according to a combination of data from the Institute of Grocery Distribution (IGD) and research by the Co-op Group.
The sector is forecast to grow by 2.2%, while supermarket space is anticipated to shrink by 2% in the next three years, it was revealed during the IGD Big Debate.
Fresh produce ranges have seen an increase in sales, especially of prepared products such as chilled potato items, which grew by almost 10% in the year to May, according to research company Kantar.
Co-op Food’s commercial director Michael Fletcher said: “This trend of digital enabling people to shop more conveniently, discounters meeting the needs of economically distressed customers and customers leading increasingly unstructured lives means the convenience sector is the only sector growing.”
He added that the complexity of the sector requires retailers to tailor individual stores by building product ranges that reflect the needs of the community.
Other speakers at the debate insisted supermarkets can continue to drive sales despite the growth of online and convenience shopping.
“I still believe large stores have a real role to play but they have to change the relationship with the consumer,” said IGD president and former Asda chief executive Andy Clarke.
“There has to be this excitement factor that takes somebody to a large store. That in itself is a loyalty factor. It’s about the relationship that customer has with that brand.”
Co-op Food has also scooped three major gongs at last month’s IGD Awards celebrating the food and grocery industries.
It was recognised for its ‘food to go’ collaboration with convenience food producer Greencore and the ‘Service Rocks’ learning and development initiative.
Steve Murrells, Co-op Group retail chief executive, won the Grocer Cup, which had a ten-strong shortlist featuring CEOs and senior leaders of national chains including Aldi, Lidl and Tesco.
Mr Murrells said he was “honoured” to receive the cup, and added: “We are the fastest growing non-discounter in the UK and the most frequently visited store.”
In this article
- Andy Clarke
- co-op food
- commercial director
- convenience food producer
- Convenience stores
- Food Retail & Distribution - NEC
- Grocery store
- Institute of Grocery Distribution
- Michael Fletcher
- retail chief executive
- retail sector
- Steve Murrells
- The Co-operative Group
- United Kingdom
- United Kingdom
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