The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has published a comprehensive report detailing the local shop sector and the support they provide to their communities.
The 2013 Local Shop Report shows the local shop sector is growing – there are now 49,888 convenience stores in mainland UK, making up a sector that is now worth £35.6bn, a growth of 5% on 2012.
It also reports that local shops are a vital source of employment nationally, with the convenience store sector providing jobs for around 375,000 people, primarily supporting those with care commitments for children of pre-school/school age (52%), but also as a reliable employment opportunity for those engaging in full- or part-time study (21%).
Local shops provide a vast range of services to their community – more than one in four stores offer home grocery delivery, 64% provide bill payment services and almost 5,000 feature new technologies like contactless payment.
And the owners of local shops are some of the hardest working people in the UK with 57% working more than 50 hours a week on average, and 28% take less than 10 days holiday a year. More than half of local shop owners have been in the business for more than 10 years.
ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “This report provides new insight into the vital role that local shops play in both the local and national economy. Convenience store owners are entrepreneurs with diverse backgrounds who have weathered the economic storm and continue to strive to succeed in a difficult marketplace.
“Local shops provide hundreds of thousands of flexible jobs, particularly for young people and those juggling other commitments like childcare. Local shops are at the heart of their communities supporting their customers.
“ACS will be sending the findings of the report and specific data on each constituency to all MPs to ensure these important decision makers have a much fuller understanding of the local shop sector.”
The Local Shop Report features research conducted by ACS, together with information collected by William Reed Business Media, IGD, the University of Oxford’s Institute of Retail Management and him. The full Local Shop Report is available at www.acs.org.uk/research