Works under way at a new Central England Co-op Food Store in Thorney Green, Stowupland ahead of official opening on 7 June 2019. Photo: Central England Co-op.

Convenience channel is set to benefit from “lots of new store openings” over the next five years, helping the market to reach £48.2 billion by 2024, IGD predicts.

New forecasts from the research and training charity reveal that the UK convenience market will add £6.9 billion in the next five years, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 3.1 percent.

“While we expect relatively muted store development across the sector as a whole in the next two years, with the sector undergoing a period of consolidation, we forecast key segments – in particular co-operatives, multiples and symbols – to benefit from strong store growth again from 2021,” said Patrick Mitchell-Fox, senior business analyst at IGD.

Total sales in the channel are expected to grow by 2.6 percent in 2019.

“This growth is being led by the co-operatives segment above all, driven not only by a focus on opening new stores, but also by outstanding like-for-like performance underpinned by strong private label development, better fresh and chilled ranges and more competitive value,” Mitchell-Fox commented.

Multiples are taking it slow when it comes to new store openings, focusing on sites with the best potential, and symbols are picking up again after a period of disruption and instability, he added.

IGD forecasts stand in stark contrast to the growing gloom in the wider retail sector, with the latest BRC-Springboard data revealing that over one in ten shops (10.3%) in Britain were vacant, the highest rate in four years.