The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has given oral evidence to the Low Pay Commission, detailing the impact that rising costs from wage increases have on the convenience sector and raising concerns about future wage rates.
Minimum wages are expected to reach the Low Pay Commission’s target of 60% of median earnings by 2020, a rate which is currently predicted to be £8.62 for the National Living Wage. The Commission is currently consulting on its future remit post-2020.
ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Our research has found that retailers are having to take a number of measures in response to rising wage rates, including delaying investments in their stores, cutting back on staff hours and taking on more hours themselves.
“We know from retailers that they continue to look for ways to increase productivity and efficiency in their business but it is increasingly difficult for retailers to fund the level of investment needed to achieve the margins needed to pay higher wage rates.”
Last month, ACS ran a focus group with 15 retailers and representatives from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Low Pay Commission, which discussed the future of wage rates and the impact that employment costs have on retailers’ businesses.
In its annual written submission to the Low Pay commission ACS urged policy makers to look at wage rates in a broader context with other policy interventions such as apprenticeships and the industrial strategy to tackle low pay.