convenience stores

   In the early 1960s, service was the key to successful selling. Therefore, unless the customer was in a position to make an expedition to department stores, local shops were still more convenient and were all that most people could afford. Independent retailers also reinforced their advantage by delivering goods to the customer. As time went on, however, the local convenience stores found it increasingly difficult to overcome the competitive prices and stock variety of the department stores and multiple chains.
   In the 1970s, convenience stores enjoyed great success and quickly took over the high street, abandoned by department and chain stores due to lack of space. At the same time, President Idi Amin of Uganda expelled thousands of Ugandan Asians, many of whom came to England with nothing but their skills as shopkeepers and their willingness to stay open as long as there were customers. These arrivals had a marked effect on the British shopping scene. Furthermore, magazine publishers like IPC, in an attempt to revive flagging sales, offered to help in redesigning the traditional confectionery, tobacconist and newsagent shops, producing shops with floor-to-ceiling rows of magazines and tempting racks of sweets near the till. The new-style corner shop once again provided the customer with the convenience of being able to call in at any hour of the night or day. Moreover, retailers quickly realized that consumers were less price-conscious when they shopped early or late. They appeared to accept that convenience stores were entitled to charge for the extra service they were providing. It was only in the 1990s that convenience stores began to face stiff competition from supermarkets with extended opening hours and cheaper goods.
   Further reading
    Kay, W. (1987) Battle For The High Street, London: Piatkus Publishers.
   FATIMA FERNANDES

Encyclopedia of contemporary British culture . . 2014.

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