The ACS has published its 2015 Local Shop Report which will be sent to every MP to impress on them the value of the sector to communities and the economy.

The report offers new information about the value that local shops provide their communities, as well as key information about the entrepreneurs that run stores, their staff and the market as a whole.

It reveals that retailers are continuing to embrace new technology, with growth in contactless payment, in-store bakeries, click and collect services and store loyalty cards. For the first time, the report also shows how engaged with their communities stores are. Across the UK, 83% of retailers have been involved in community activities like collecting for charity, sponsoring local teams and providing support for local events over the last year.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “The report demonstrates that the convenience sector is continuing to adapt to meet the needs of customers. By diversifying their offering in store and the services they provide, they have firmly established themselves at the heart of their communities. The number of jobs that our sector provides stands out once again this year. Convenience stores now employ over 407,000 people, giving local jobs to people of all ages and with a range of other commitments.

“This report is an incredibly valuable tool in engaging with Government. We will be sending reports and individual constituency cards to every MP in the UK to ensure that they know the value of the convenience sector and the importance of people who run stores in their area.”

Key findings from the report include:

• There are now 51,524 convenience stores in mainland UK, making up a sector that is now worth £37.7bn, a growth of 5% on 2014;

• The value the convenience sector adds to the economy in gross value added is just over £5bn;

• Local shops are a vital source of employment – nationally, the convenience store sector provides jobs for over 407,000 people; and

• Local shop owners are some of the hardest working people in the UK – 25% of shop owners work more than 70 hours per week on average, and 20% take no holiday at all throughout the year.