Convenience drives UK retail changes

31 July 2014
SOUTHAMPTON: Convenience store sales in the UK will account for a quarter of the entire grocery market by 2019 while, over the same period, the market share for superstores is expected to fall from 42% to 34.9%, new research has forecast.

These are the key findings from the University of Southampton's Retail Research Group, which was commissioned by the government's Future High Streets Forum, to examine the performance and evolution of the UK high street.

It said there has been a "fundamental shift" in the way UK consumers view convenience shopping as they increasingly prefer quick "top-up" options at local stores and online shopping to large out-of-town shopping locations.

Online shopping and the growth of "click-and-collect" facilities are also encouraging consumers to opt for high street stores.

Within five years, seven out of 10 online shoppers would prefer to collect goods themselves rather than risk missing a delivery, the report predicted. That is double the current rate of 35%.

As reported by Internet Retailing, co-authors Professor Neil Wrigley and Dr Dionysia Lambiri, said: "To reach an increasingly digitally sophisticated and time-constrained consumer base, retailers have been forced to innovate and explore the omnichannel offer – and to embrace both click-and-collect services and showroom stores."

The high street has also witnessed a "modest resurgence" in specialist independent retailers, the report said, and it expected the leisure aspect of shopping trips to be a "significant driver of footfall".

It also expected the long-term shifts towards leisure, health and beauty – such as nail salons, hair dressers and gyms – to continue.

"New relationships are being established in town centres and high streets, creating opportunities and contributing to their resilience," the study concluded.

Penny Mordaunt, the recently appointed high streets minister, welcomed the study's findings, saying it showed the high street to be "adaptable, creative and resilient".

Data sourced from Southampton University, Internet Retailing, DCLG; additional content by Warc
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