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:
- Londis - 1,800 shops (part of Booker Group)
- Costcutter - 2,600 shops
- 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.
- Co-op Food which has a similar corporate structure, although is not usually considered a symbol group.
- 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.
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