The important role that convenience stores play in both the economy and local communities in Wales has been revealed by new research by the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS).
The 2020 Welsh Local Shop Report revealed that 62% of local shops in Wales operate in rural locations, providing essential services to their local communities, including bill payment services (79%), cash machines (68%) and Post Offices (25%).
Convenience stores continue to make a positive contribution to the communities they trade in, providing over 27,000 jobs across Wales and playing an active role in their local areas, with 82% of independent retailers engaging in some form of community activity in the past year.
Key figures from the report include:
• there 2,931 local shops in Wales, 84% of which are independently owned;
• convenience stores in Wales generated £2.5bn in sales;
• 39% of stores operate in an area with no other retail/service businesses nearby;
• the average shopper in Wales visits their local shop four times per week;
• shoppers travel an average of 2.07 miles to their local shop and 46% of shoppers in Wales drive to store.
ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Local shops provide secure and flexible working to thousands of people across Wales and act as a social hub for many of their customers. Convenience stores in Wales are a lifeline for the communities that they serve, not only providing daily groceries but also tackling loneliness and hosting essential services that customers may not otherwise have access to. We have seen convenience retailers invest in their stores to provide the services that their customers need in the wake of the closures other service providers, such banks and Post Offices.”
ACS works on devolved issues in Wales with members of the Welsh Assembly, promoting the convenience sector in Wales through the Cross Party Group on Small Shops.
Chair of the Cross-Party Group Janet Finch-Saunders AM has tabled Statement of Opinion 146, calling on the Welsh Government to extend High Street Relief beyond 2020 to support local shops and the communities where retailers trade.