Symbol group

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An example of a Nisa Local shop.

A symbol group is a mainly British term for a form of franchise in the retail sector. They do not own or operate shops, but act as suppliers to independent convenience 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.


Symbol groups include:


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.[5]

In the 2010s there was significant consolidation in the sector, as Tesco purchased Booker and the Co-operative Group purchased Nisa.

See also[edit]

  • Co-op Food which has a similar corporate structure, although is not usually considered a symbol group.


  1. ^ Londis
  2. ^ Costcutter Supermarkets Group
  3. ^ Daily Post,
  4. ^ The Guardian,
  5. ^ "Symbol groups: market overview". The Institute of Grocery Distribution. Retrieved 5 October 2015.