A symbol group is a form of franchise of convenience shops, found primarily in the United Kingdom and Ireland. They do not own or operate shops, but act as suppliers to independent shops which then trade under a common banner.
Unlike other forms of franchise, they have expanded primarily by selling their services to existing shops, rather than by actively developing new outlets. Examples of such franchises are Spar, Londis, Nisa Local and Centra.
Symbol groups include:
- Londis – 1,800 shops(part of Booker Group)
- Costcutter – 2,600 shops
- Musgrave Group
- BWG Foods
- Premier Stores – 3,400 shops(part of Booker Group)
- Nisa – 2,400 shops
In 2014, the Institute of Grocery Distribution (IGD) reported that the symbol group market is worth £15.5bn, with a 42% share of the UK convenience market through 17,080 shops.
In the 2010s there was significant consolidation in the sector, as Tesco purchased Booker and the Co-operative Group purchased Nisa.
- ^Londis http://www.londis.co.uk/about-us/
- ^Costcutter Supermarkets Group http://www.costcuttersupermarketsgroup.com/about-us/
- ^Daily Post, http://www.dailypost.co.uk/business/business-news/what-tescos-merger-booker-could-12517344
- ^The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/nov/13/co-op-buys-nisa-for-143m-after-members-back-takeover
- ^“Symbol groups: market overview”. The Institute of Grocery Distribution. Retrieved 5 October 2015.