For sale, retail, estate, Christies, shopPeriod-on-period sales of convenience stores are up 21%, according to Tony Evans, who heads up business agent Christie + Co’s retail sales operations.

His press release, issued earlier this month, says that buyers were active in the first six months of this year, compared to the last six of 2009. Its team facilitated 2,253 viewings, up 13% on the 1,958 achieved in the second half of last year. These figures exclude its disposal of more than 1,200 former First Quench Retailing stores, which generated 3,000 offers.

Values have stabilised, says Mr Evans, which means that buyers with cash are confident that they will not lose capital on buying freeholds.

Christie + Co was not prepared to give any more details to qualify its optimistic snapshot. However, its viewpoint tallies with what retailers and suppliers are saying around the country – that well run independent local shops are able to deliver good profits. While the work is hard, the barriers to entry are relatively low.

Probably the most important advice to anyone thinking about buying a new shop is to count how many people pass by the outlet first thing in the morning, mid-morning, at lunch time, mid afternoon and in the early evening. If you estimate an average spend of £5 per shopper and estimate what percentage of the passers by you think will visit the shop, then you can get a rough idea of the profit potential.