The decline of the corner shop is hastening. According to a Parliamentary report the corner shop will disappear over the next ten years if the rate of growth of the superstores is allowed to continue.
The convenience store sector has been under threat from superstores for the last half century. In the sixties and seventies smaller shops struggled to compete on price as the superstores increasingly wielded their might to drive their costs down. In the eighties the battleground moved to technology and efficiencies that small traders couldn’t afford. More recently the big issue has been opening hours and small shops losing their one last advantage – Sunday trading.
In the early eighties there were around 48,000 independent convenience stores. Today there are just 32,000. The report from the All Party Parliamentary Small Shops Group estimates that the rate of decline is increasing and around 2,000 small shops will go out of business every year for the next ten years. Many of these retailers are selling their businesses to Tesco for conversion into Tescos Express.
Tesco has plans to open a further 600 convenience stores over the next ten years and Sainsburys is jumping on that bandwagon too. There will be a tussle as the big four superstores go after market share in the convenience store sector. While there is an opportunity here for small traders to hold out for top dollar in selling their businesses they also need to be aware that they are selling something they can never buy back and they will be depriving their children and grandchildren of an independent lifestyle.
Brighton Pavilion Labour and Co-operative MP David Lepper has given his support to local traders by backing the Association for Convenience Stores (ACS) campaign to keep the current Sunday trading laws.
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Retail, pubs, clubs and restaurants
All Party Parliamentary Small Shops Group
Association of Convenience Stores