ACS (the Association of Convenience Stores) has submitted evidence to the Low Pay Commission (LPC), calling on it to carefully assess the impact of the rate rise on small retailers.

In its submission, ACS notes that according to a survey of retailers, increases in the national minimum wage (NMW) correlate with a negative effect on business competitiveness. Fifty six per cent of retailers stated that NMW rises have made their business less competitive.

Sixty two per cent of retailers also indicated that they had laid off staff in the past year, of which 71% attributed to increased employment costs. Retailers also indicated that reduced sales, the economic downturn and other factors such as high business rates had impacted on their business.

Four fifths of retailers responding to ACS’ National Minimum Wage Survey believe that the LPC should recommend a freeze in the minimum wage

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Retailers are urging the Low Pay Commission to consider carefully the negative effects of wage inflation on job creation and investment and to resist political pressure to inflate the minimum wage.

“Local shops are operating in an extremely competitive market with significant inflationary pressure on costs across the business. So while there is optimism, and signs of investment and job creation across the convenience sector it is fragile and must be nurtured. The worse thing the commission could do is undermine this by dramatically increasing the minimum wage.”

In addition to the written submission, ACS will be providing oral evidence to the Low Pay Commission in November.