With 2009 annual results flooding in, the overriding opinion of last year is that it was one when retailers cut back on expenditure and scaled back store openings. The outlook now is for conservative store growth through smaller footprint stores.

With 2009 annual results flooding in, the overriding opinion of last year is that it was one when retailers cut back on expenditure and scaled back store openings. The outlook now is for conservative store growth through smaller footprint stores.

This message is underpinned by Planet Retail’s global forecasting tool. Analysing every market from Albania to Zimbabwe, and every grocery format from bakeries to warehouse clubs, some 24,700 stores are forecast to open globally in 2010 - equivalent to a net new sales area of 263.5 million sq ft. New store openings in 2010 will be 23.7% higher than the 19,970 stores opened in 2009, but new sales area for 2010 is forecast to grow by 4.2%.

These numbers paint a bleak future for the hypermarket concept, which in developed markets has seen ailing sales amidst saturation and poor performance of non-food. Supermarkets, convenience stores and discount stores are likely to be the key winners, with Asia’s Seven & I the world’s fastest growing retailer in terms of store numbers - scheduled to open more than 2,250 stores in 2010. The 7-Eleven fascia is now present on more stores than any other format in the world, including McDonald’s and Subway.

Another small format winner is Dollar General (600 new stores in 2010) the US-based fixed-price retailer, which has driven recent growth by expanding its convenience food and beverages offering as well as adding impulse racks at the checkouts and extending its store operating hours.

In terms of markets that are expected to see the most store growth, it is no surprise to see China at the top of the ranking, followed by the US and then South Korea. Quite surprisingly neither Brazil nor Russia make the top 10, and India, the other member of the BRIC countries sits in seventh place. China has emerged as the priority growth market for almost all of the world’s leading grocers, while the fragmented nature of the market is also providing exciting opportunities for local players as well.

Despite the impact of the global credit crunch and rising saturation levels, even mature markets such as Japan, UK and France feature in the top 10 ranking, suggesting that major grocers in these markets are still able to expand into new areas through diversified store strategies.

Smaller independent players in these markets are likely to be the ones that are finding life toughest.

➤ Greg Hodge, research director, Planet Retail. For more information contact us on:

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Email: info@planetretail.net