European C-Store Sales Pick Up in Third Quarter

Online sales are still around twice as high as they were in 2019.

December 03, 2021

Inside of a SPAR convenience store

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—The European convenience channel has almost returned to growth, with sales falling just under 1% in the third quarter, which is a similar growth to the second quarter, according to Mike Watkins, head of retailer and business insight UK, NielsenIQ, who recently spoke at the NielsenIQ/NACS Convenience Tracker Europe.

“In two of the six largest countries, Italy and Spain, sales were positive, and GB was also back in a positive 2.3% growth in the month of September. Whilst basket spends are down around 20% compared with last year, the good news is that shoppers are now visiting stores more regularly, and the underlying pre-pandemic shopping behavior of ‘little and more often’ shopping is slowly returning,” said Watkins.

Online sales are still about twice as high as they were in 2019, so there is continued shift of spend away from super-stores and hypermarkets into online, says Watkins.

“Whilst there are headwinds coming from rising prices and supply chain challenges, shoppers are expected to economize by shopping ‘savvy’ to stretch budgets but without compromising their lifestyle needs, which means continuing to shop local. These three trends suggest that proximity and convenience retailers will end the year in a relatively strong position in Europe,” said Watkins.