The Convenience Shop is seeking to make its first foray in Gozo, with plans to open a store in Malta’s sister island this year.

This was announced by CEO Martin Agius in The Convenience Shop (Holding) plc’s Annual Report and Consolidated Financial Statements for the year ended 31st December 2023. In the report, the group stated that it had recorded €3.1 million in pre-tax profit during 2023, a 19.7 per cent increase from the figure of the previous year (€2.6 million). This was driven by a 10 per cent rise in revenue, prompting a total of €46.7 million (2022: €42.4 million), as well as increases in rental income, which went up to €596,682 in 2023 (2022: €219,261).

In his statement commenting on the performance, Mr Agius reflected on a number of key milestones that The Convenience Shop achieved during 2023, describing it as a year of “remarkable growth and expansion.”

As he looked ahead, he remarked that 2024, the year in which the group is celebrating its 15th anniversary, it will be working on two particular objectives: opening its 100th store, as well as its first outlet in Gozo.

As at the publishing of the report, The Convenience Shop had a total of 91 stores spread across the mainland, an achievement that is primarily a result of its business model in which it incorporates both owned and franchise businesses. It owned 41 of the stores, while the remaining 50 were franchised shops. In 2024, it is planning to acquire more businesses through the adoption of its Co-Existence and Co-Prosperity model, seeking established grocery stores with specific area dimensions.

Despite this, the popular retailer is yet to have a store in Gozo.

Over the years, a number of retail chains have stayed away from Gozo, given it is largely dominated by the retailers and discount stores already present in the sister island, particularly Ta’ Dirjanu and Lighthouse foodstores. The former has three outlets, while the latter has six.

This is not taking into account larger supermarkets, which includes the likes of Arkadia Foodstore, Green’s Supermarket, and Lidl, all being popular shopping destinations in Gozo.

However, there has been a slight shift in recent years, marked by the opening of two stores in Xewkija and Victoria by The Convenience Shop's rival, Maypole, in 2020.

Since The Convenience Shop’s business model is based on acquiring existing stores, which then operate independently under franchise terms, utilising the company’s branding and name, Gozo could be a significant opportunity for the popular retailer. This is particularly the case since the island still has a number of family-owned grocery stores which could benefit from becoming franchisees.

In the annual report, Mr Agius added that the business model has enabled The Convenience Shop to “capture new shopper opportunities,” and this is expected to result in an “increased demand from existing grocery store owners and operators who recognise the value proposition of joining The Convenience Shop Franchise Network.”

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Fabrizio Tabone

Fabrizio has a passion for the economy and technology, especially when it comes to innovation. Aside from this, he also has a passion for football and movies, and so you will often find him either with a ball to his feet or at the cinema checking out the latest releases.