Death of the cornershop? Supermarkets push up closures of independent stores

The number of small, independent convenience stores going insolvent has increased massively, says an accountant.

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 16 Jun 2014

Scary reading for retailers this morning: according to a study by acountant Wilkins Kennedy, the number of retail insolvencies has jumped by 12%, from 1,149 in 2012/13 to 1,287 in the last 12 months.

It’s frightening, not least when you consider that although parts of the economy are recovering, some have fared less well than others: productivity, for example, is still 16% below pre-crisis levels, even though unemployment is almost back to its original point. Are we about to end up in another situation where large, well-established retailers are disappearing from our high streets at the rate of one a day?

Not really, admits Wilkins Kennedy: unfortunately, the big insolvency trend over the last 12 months was not Woolworths-alikes, but small, independent convenience stores, which are being pushed out by supermarkets.

‘The convenience store market is the one store format in which all of the major supermarkets continue to expand aggressively… the big supermarket chains now have more than 2,300 convenience stores and are adding to these rapidly – with Morrisons the latest to step up activity in this area.’

The meaner among us might point out it’s a rare cornershop that can compete with the well-stocked, airy supermarket convenience format which comes complete with a wide range of high-quality produce. But the prospect of the local convenience store disappearing from the UK’s high streets altogether is a bleak one. Sadly, it seems inevitable.

Find this article useful?

Get more great articles like this in your inbox every lunchtime

When spying on your staff backfires

As Barclays' recently-scrapped tracking software shows, snooping on your colleagues is never a good idea....

A CEO’s guide to smart decision-making

You spend enough time doing it, but have you ever thought about how you do...

What Tinder can teach you about recruitment

How to make sure top talent swipes right on your business.

An Orwellian nightmare for mice: Pest control in the digital age

Case study: Rentokil’s smart mouse traps use real-time surveillance, transforming the company’s service offer.

Public failure can be the best thing that happens to you

But too often businesses stigmatise it.

Andrew Strauss: Leadership lessons from an international cricket captain

"It's more important to make the decision right than make the right decision."