Community-owned shops reported record sales for 2011 despite larger retailers reporting a stalling of growth, a new report from Plunkett Foundation finds.
Better Business, launched today, is an in-depth analysis of the performance of community shops in 2011. The report clearly shows that community-owned shops are going from strength to strength. Average gross sales are up by 18.4% and like for like sales from 2011 show an increase of 9.4%, in an environment that has seen the stalling of growth for large retailers in the UK.
Peter Couchman, Chief Executive of Plunkett Foundation, said: “In a climate that has seen commercial village shops close at a rate of around 400 per year, and the stalling growth for the major retailers, community-owned shops are reporting not only an increase in sales, but are continuing to open in a challenging climate; 23 opened in 2011 and we predict a further 20 to open by the end of 2012. At the current count, there are 280 community-owned shops in existence, the majority of which have been supported by Plunkett, and we’re helping a further 184 communities to explore community ownership as a way of saving their village shop.
“Community-owned shops succeed where commercial ventures have failed because they engage with the whole community. When the owners are the customers, the business can directly respond to consumers’ needs in a way that larger retailers just aren’t able to; for example, they can stock food produced by local farmers or offer other services, like cafés, meeting places or delivery services. And the important thing about community ownership is once a community has saved one service or asset, they realise they can use it to solve a whole range of issues, from broadband provision and transport services to saving the local pub.”
The report is published as part of the first ever Community Shops Fortnight, a celebration of the success of the 280 communities across the UK that have saved their village shop through community ownership. Community shops across the whole of the UK will be joining the celebrations, with 75 already requesting special marketing packs containing everything they need to mark the Fortnight.
Download Better Business here.
See coverage of Better Business in the Sunday Telegraph here:
Find out more about Community Shops Fortnight at http://www.communityshops.coop.