A cross party committee of MPs have launched a new inquiry into the future of the high street, with the intention of looking ahead to 2030.
There have been no shortage of reviews, reports and inquiries into the state of the high street, but where do convenience stores fit in?
One of the phrases that we use a lot at ACS when talking to the media is that the corner shop of 20 years ago is not the convenience store of today.
Even a decade ago, when you thought of what a convenience store looked like, it typically majored on grocery products with perhaps some local collaboration on things like milk, bread and deli offerings.
Over the past few years however, the convenience store offer has evolved to feature an increasingly wide range of services for local customers. Where other specialist stores on the high street like banks, pharmacies, off licenses and post offices have faded away in many areas, convenience stores have embraced those services.
The role of the convenience store on the modern high street then is an important one, as it acts not just as a traditional social hub, but as a collection of products and services in one place.
This cannot be taken for granted though, as the high street is littered with empty fascias of businesses that thought they were more relevant to consumers than they actually were.
As convenience stores have embraced change over the past ten years to adopt additional services and a wider range of goods, the challenge for our sector in the future, especially for the 18,000 urban stores on high streets and in town centres, is to find new ways to collaborate with other services that people want.
We’ll make the case for our sector to the latest parliamentary inquiry into high streets. I’m confident they’ll find that convenience stores are going to be even more relevant than ever in this changing retail landscape.