Press Release

Local convenience powered by hybrid working

Tim Richards

Partner – Commercial

15th Nov 2023

Published in The Grocer (10.11.2023)

  • LDC data shows 1,266 new convenience stores added since 2020;
  • 2022 figures double that of pre-Covid convenience store leases;
  • Rise in home/local working powering localism & convenience success says Rapleys;
  • Consumers demand fresh, local produce specific to them which centralised brands cannot service.

Strategic Property Consultancy Rapleys says the rise in home and hybrid working has powered the success of convenience stores. Working with data from the Local Data Company, the consultancy said 1,266 new stores have been added since 2020, and half of these opened in 2021 alone, immediately following the pandemic. 2022’s figures remain well above pre-pandemic levels with 360 stores opening compared to 175 in 2019.

Rapleys says the rise in hybrid, flexible and home working is the core factor in the resurgence of the convenience store. According to the ONS, between September 2022 to January 2023, 44% of workers reported home or hybrid working and 56% reported only travelling to work in the last seven days while 16% reported home working only. This has powered the trend of Localism in retail.

Tim Richards, Director at Aston Rose, part of Rapleys, said: “With this quantum of people being at home for a much greater chunk of the week, their appetite for local convenience shopping has risen. It’s much easier to pop out at grab some fresh produce from the local store and less pressure on ‘the weekly shop’. Hence, we are seeing supermarkets leaving the high street and focussing more on their smaller local stores and independent convenience stores picking up the mantle and thriving buoyed by local and more frequent custom.”

“Independent convenience retail also has the added benefit of flexing their produce to suit their local catchment, something centralised supermarket stores cannot always do as they buy at scale, store products in hub warehousing and work on national data. Communities benefit from fresh local produce, regularly updated and in turn inspires loyalty to their local store. If the average home or flexible worker visits their local convenience store just twice more a week, this has a huge positive impact on that retailer’s footfall and spend many times over.”

According to the Local Data Company, in 2019, there was a net positive change of 175 convenience stores added to the high street rising to 283 in 2020 as the pandemic hit. In 2021 this figure grew sharply to 623 and a further 360 net gain was seen in 2022.

Rapleys is the leading property adviser to foodstores in the UK, transacting and managing swathes of properties of this type across the country.

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