Opinion: A golden age of retail localisation beckons

George MacDonald

Along with the weekly big shop, the coronavirus pandemic has heralded a resurgence of another once feared-to-be-endangered species – the local shop.

During the lockdown, convenience stores have thrived. That is not surprising in light of all the restrictions on movement that lockdown brought, but perhaps retail is destined for a new age of localism.

The rise of neighbourhood shopping has been as steep as Scafell Pike and was highlighted by the most recent stats from grocery market monitor Kantar.

The data, covering the 12 weeks to May 17, revealed a stonking sales surge at convenience businesses. At the Co-op, revenues leapt almost 31% and it claimed a market share of 7% – a proportion it last held right back in 2011.

At independent and symbol food stores, the figures were even more breathtaking. Sales rocketed 63% to give them a market share of 2.5%, a figure last achieved more than a decade ago.

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