The convenience sector has generated £44.7bn in sales over the past year, according to the 2020 Local Shop Report just published by the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS).
The latest report highlights the enormous contribution that the 46,955 stores in the convenience sector make to the UK economy, as a job creator, and to local communities.
Key figures from this year’s report also include the fact that in the past year, convenience stores have invested over £585m in improving their businesses and introducing new services for customers; and that they provide local, flexible and secure jobs for around 412,000 people across the UK.
ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “The convenience sector’s role as a substantial job creator cannot be overstated. Retailers provide secure, local, flexible jobs that fit alongside other commitments like childcare and helping relatives. This is why job satisfaction in the sector is high, and more than half of the colleagues working in stores see themselves staying in a similar role in five years’ time. Our role as an employer has never been more important.”
This year’s Local Shop Report also includes specific information about the convenience sector’s experience of lockdown: Two thirds of retailers reported an increase in sales over the lockdown period; more than half of retailers now provide ‘card not present’ transactions, making it easier for volunteers to shop for those who are vulnerable or isolating; and convenience stores are now providing over 600,000 home deliveries a week to local people.
Lowman continued: “When the UK went into lockdown in March, millions of people turned to their local shops to help keep them going with essential groceries and services. Retailers have done a stellar job of adapting and developing their businesses to keep up with demand, with no greater example than the incredible growth in home deliveries.
“We anticipate continued growth in the convenience sector in the coming months and years, as both new and existing customers keep coming back to their local shop.”