Symbol group operators, such as Costcutter and Nisa, have the biggest overall share of convenience sales, accounting for just over £4 in every £10 spent in UK convenience stores, said IGD.
Sales at symbol groups represent more than the next two largest groups – convenience multiples and unaffiliated independents – combined, with sales worth £15.5bn in the 12 months to April 2014.
The convenience multiples experienced the fastest growing increase in sales in the 12 months to April 2014 (16.3%) and are now the second largest part of the market, worth £7.3bn.
Unaffiliated independents (18,630 stores) and symbol groups (17,080 stores) account for over 70% of the total number of convenience stores (49,579) and while growing at the fastest rate, convenience multiples still represent less than 10% of total stores, according to analysis carried out by IGD in conjunction with Food Manufacture’s sister magazine The Grocer.
IGD chief executive Joanne Denney-Finch said: “The convenience sector continues to build on its success and we're forecasting almost £12bn in extra sales between now and 2019.
“Convenience stores are benefiting from changing social demographics, such as smaller households, and shoppers spreading more of their spending across a variety of grocery formats. Our latest ShopperVista research shows that seven out of 10 (71%) of them are using both a supermarket and convenience shop in any given month.
“Our 24-hour, seven day a week society means people can buy anything, anywhere and at any time. Convenience stores are well placed to make the most of this trend as shoppers use them more than any other type of grocery format.”
Positive set of results
Meanwhile, wholesaler Booker, which services many independent convenience outlets, has delivered a positive set of results, which were ahead of analysts’ forecast.
According to Nicola Mallard, an analyst with Investec, integration of the cash and carry wholesaler Makro, acquired by Booker in April last year, is well underway, with plans to better utilise the new space and build revenues towards £6bn still on track.
Booker delivered profit before tax for the year of £118.7M with sales up 17.3% to £4.68bn. Makro’s earnings before interest and tax contribution was £11M, compared with a loss of £18M in 2012.