Symbol group operators, such as Budgens and Costcutter, now account for 40% of UK convenience store sales, according to the latest research published today (Thursday) by IGD at its Convenience Retailing 2012 conference. This share is up from 22% in 2002.

Symbol group stores currently generate £13.6bn in sales, nearly three times the value they delivered ten years ago. IGD predicts they will account for half of all convenience sales by 2020.

the total UK convenience market is now worth £34bn and IGD forecasts it to increase to £44bn by 2017.

Joanne Denney-Finch, chief executive, IGD, said: “The convenience channel as a whole goes from strength to strength. We are forecasting it to grow by 29% over the next five years, compared to 18% for the overall UK grocery market over the same period.

“The quality of the convenience market continues to improve and symbol groups are playing an important role in this. They provide independent retailers with support across a variety of areas, from product ranges and marketing, to IT and logistics support. This helps them to deliver an excellent convenience service to local shoppers and the communities they serve.

“Our ShopperVista research shows nearly half of shoppers (47%) are extremely or very satisfied with the quality of the products at symbol stores. And there are several opportunities for them to work with suppliers to build the private label proposition and increase its awareness.”

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