Nisa Retail said 401 new stores have signed up to the symbol group till September this year, with multi-site key accounts and wholesale partners seeing significant growth in numbers.
The strong store recruitment numbers follows a record 2020 when, despite the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, 624 stores joined the business over the full year.
Nisa said the large, multi-site key accounts have seen sustained growth this year, with store numbers and sales both up on 2020 figures for the same period, with retailers like TOUT’S, Ascona Group and Amacor continuing to expand their businesses.
“The sustained growth in new partners and stores is testament not only to the brilliant team at Nisa, who have gone above and beyond during the past 18 months in continually challenging circumstances, but to the strength of Nisa’s proposition for independent retailers,” Steve Leach, Sales Director at Nisa, said.
“This is where we strike the balance between recruitment and the support of existing partners, through our fresh thinking approach to partner support, competitive pricing and an unrivalled own brand range.”
Nisa said its ability to serve a range of independent operators, both retail and wholesale, as well as developing new store formats including Nisa Express have been key to the successful recruitment.
Nisa Express provides a dedicated fascia option and store format for smaller convenience and forecourt sites.
Of the 401 new stores this year, 128 converted to Nisa’s latest Evolution format, including 14 former Co-ops, compared to 57 symbol stores in the same period last year, eight of which were former Co-ops.
This also includes hitting the 1,000th Nisa fascia store milestone earlier this year with the opening of key account LA Food Group’s store in Camden.
Darren May, Head of Format and Development at Nisa said the change in shopper habits driven by the pandemic is one of the key factors influencing partners to invest in their stores.
“We have seen a dramatic increase in the number of stores we are converting and turning over to Nisa fascia stores,” he said.
“The number of new stores combined with those being developed by partners is really impressive as we see our partners re-evaluate their businesses in response to shopper habits and invest back into their business.”
The recruitment drive has also been supported by investments in price and distribution; earlier this year, Nisa announced £2 million of price reductions on own brand and branded items, enabling partners to remain competitive and supporting sales margins.
Significant investment in logistics and delivery network was also pledged as part of a new commitment to being the number one distribution partner of choice for independent retailers.