FT - James Lowman, chairman, ACS

ACS chief executive James Lowman

The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) is supporting the launch of the government’s new Help for Households campaign, highlighting the role that the UK’s 47,000-plus local shops play in helping customers to manage their money during the cost of living crisis.

The new campaign, announced by prime minister Boris Johnson and the new cost of living tsar David Buttress, brings together senior UK business leaders and representatives, including ACS chief executive James Lowman, to reduce costs at the checkout and ensure access to services for families during the summer holidays and beyond.

The campaign combines new promotions and deals aimed at saving customers money together with the continuation of successful support schemes which businesses are already running and want to promote under the Help for Households campaign to raise awareness.

The Help for Households retail campaign aims to provide deals for families over four distinct periods –the summer holidays, back to school, autumn pressures and Christmas retail – with deals secured and hosted on the government’s new Help for Households website so that people can find them easily in one place.

Johnson said: “We’re facing incredibly tough global economic headwinds and families across the country are feeling the pinch. That’s why this government is providing an unprecedented £37bn worth of support to help households through the storm. Both the public and private sector have a role to play – and that’s why it’s great to see so many leading UK businesses are coming forward to offer new deals and discounts that will provide much needed respite at the checkout. This won’t solve the issue overnight but it’s another weapon in our arsenal as we fight back against the scourge of rising prices and inflation.”

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “The UK’s 47,000 local shops play an incredibly important role in helping consumers to manage their money, save on fuel and other travel costs, and reduce food waste.

“We strongly welcome the new Help for Households campaign, and are committed to working with the cost of living tsar David Buttress to highlight how convenience stores are supporting both customers and colleagues during this challenging time for everyone.

“Many convenience store retailers are providing significant staff discounts and other benefits as part of extra support packages for colleagues in store, as well as doing everything they can to keep prices on the shelf in check despite rising costs in just about every area of their businesses.”

As part of the campaign, ACS is urging convenience stores to promote the benefits of the government’s Healthy Start scheme, which provides a prepaid card that can be used at local shops to buy milk, infant formula and fresh or frozen fruit and vegetables. Any store that sells eligible products and accepts Mastercard payments is automatically able to take part in the scheme.