Scotland c-stores ‘survived pandemic but lost jobs’

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Scotland’s convenience stores have been open for business throughout the pandemic, providing vital grocery products to customers and communities but still suffered massive job loss, stated a report today (14). 

As per Scottish Local Shop Report 2021, while the number of stores in Scotland has stayed broadly the same (5,037), there has been a loss of 5,000 jobs with the number of people employed in the sector dropping to 42,000. 

Stores have put a significant amount of effort into staying open and staying in business – in 2021 retailers invested a total of £62 million in their businesses –  but this has been at the cost of jobs. It is likely that the jobs losses have been greater in those stores in town and city centre locations where there has been a drastic reduction in footfall, said the report by Association of Convenience Stores and Scottish Grocers Federation. 

In an indication of the move towards shopping locally, average basket spend by customers in convenience stores rose from £7.46 in 2020 to £10.82 in 2021. Community remained at the heart of convenience with 76 per cent of customers knowing their retailer well enough to have a chat with them and 82 per cent of convenience retailers regularly involved in community activities.

The report also mentioned that the convenience sector’s staff worked a combined 9.6 million hours while the average store is open for 14 hours per day.  

Commenting on the report, SGF chief executive Pete Cheema OBE said: “Convenience stores have played a huge part in supporting customers and communities through the pandemic. Retailers have been determined to stay open but this has meant that jobs have been lost.

“If there has been a positive outcome of the pandemic it is that people in Scotland have embraced shopping locally and we can see that spending in convenience stores has increased markedly. Convenience stores are in a unique position to support customers and communities and this has grown during the pandemic.”