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FOCUS: Retail is booming for one businessman

FOCUS: Retail is booming for one businessman

Friday 28 April 2023

FOCUS: Retail is booming for one businessman

Friday 28 April 2023

Just over five years after opening his first shop, a young businessman is recruiting staff for his third store.

Having spoken to Scott Cockburn in 2018 when he took over Tozer's on the Bridge, Express caught up with him again to find out about his more recent business ventures.


In September 2018, the then-owners of Tozer's newsagents said the business would have to close if a new buyer could not be found.

At that point, the business had been running for 93 years meaning it will be marking its centenary in 2025.


Pictured: More than four year's on, Tozer's remains open.

Prior to the sale in 2018, Tozer's had been part of the wider newspaper and magazine distribution business, H Le Gallez. The wholesale distribution business was bought by Guernsey Press Limited, but the sale did not include the retail shop on the Bridge. 

Having already set his eye on buying a convenience store elsewhere, Mr Cockburn took the opportunity to buy Tozer's, reopening it after refurbishment in November 2018.

CM Stores

Contree Mansel Stores was the business that Mr Cockburn had his eye on initially and in 2019 he took it over when the previous owners retired.

The opening hours and product ranges were extended, with new staff employed and equipment bought.

Mr Cockburn said he is pleased with how both his shops have operated since he took them over.


Pictured: (r) Scott Cockburn.

Island Stores

The newest shop in the Bailiwick Retail chain is due to open in the Pollet in June.

Planned opening hours are 07:00 to 21:00 each weekday, with later closing over the weekends.

The premises were most recently a tanning salon meaning some refurbishment is required to transform it into a convenience store.

Mr Cockburn said there's been a gap in the market in that part of town for a while, and he's been looking to fill it.

"We've been looking to try and get a suitable premises in the Pollet, or Lower Pollet, for some years. It's just very rare that something suitable and the right size comes available.

"This one is just big enough. It will be quite similar to Tozer's with alcohol as well. It's not going to be big enough to offer a full grocery offering but it will certainly offer something for people shopping in town, those working nearby or passing."

In the long run Mr Cockburn would like to open more convenience stores across Guernsey recognising that as times change so do people's shopping habits.

"We'd like to get more stores in future, that's always the plan, it's just sometimes easier said than done when you live in an island as small as Guernsey. It's quite rare when the better ones become available - or the ones that are suitable to do what you want become available. 

"In town a lot of the properties aren't the best shape, size or layout for a traditional convenience store, but the Pollet's a good area."

Mr Cockburn is currently recruiting staff across his chain of three stores which he says hasn't been as difficult as he had expected.

"I thought it was going to be extremely difficult, but strangely enough we've had a huge number of enquiries. That's partly owing to the range of hours that's on offer. The response has been really good and we've filled some of the positions already."

He intends to recruit a manager for the Pollet shop, which he says proves that there is career progression in retail.

"I didn't think I'd end working in retail. I went to university and did a business management degree which steered me towards working in a bank or in finance. I think people don't always realise that in a small company there are ways to grow your career.

"With a number of stores one person can't do everything and having someone there that's reliable is needed and it does create a position."


Tozers new owner says 'thank you'

Writing on the wall for traditional newsagent?

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