Small stores faring better as shopper behaviour ‘polarises’

The latest Retail Sales Figures shows that smaller shops may be faring better than the major multiples as the consumer spending squeeze continues.

In the face of big new discounting from the mutliples, including Tesco’s Big Price Drop, small retailers saw sales rise by 2.1% in September  — 10 times the  0.2% achieved by large stores*.

Analysts believe a combination of factors is helping smaller shops. As the cost of petrol continues to rise, they say, more people are thinking twice before jumping to their cars and driving to the supermarket. Pressure on the family purse is also making shoppers more careful about avoiding waste — so they are buying smaller amounts more regularly.

Experts have also been explaining why many higher-end stores are still performing well despite the challenging economic climate. Scott Corfe, senior economist at Centre for Economics and Business Research, told The Guardian: “There has been a polarisation. A flight to quality and a flight to value, rather than clustering in the middle ground. We have been talking to retailers and they are saying that the tough area is the middle ground, value and luxury are doing well.”

* Office of National Statistics, Retail Sales Figures for September 2011