The vital contribution that local shops make to the UK economy and the investment in services that continues to drive growth in the sector, has been revealed in the latest Local Shops Report, published today by the Association of Convenience Stores.

The report reveals the diverse range of services that stores offer to their communities, and provides key information about the entrepreneurs that run stores, their staff and the market as a whole.

It shows that innovative services like click and collect, food-to-go counters and digital advertising screens are being featured in thousands of stores across the UK, with many retailers also catering to traditional values by offering home newspaper delivery, post office services and local grocery delivery.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Retailers are adapting to customer needs by offering a huge range of services in store. The sector now caters to almost every type of consumer, providing coffee and food to go, parcel services and new technologies like contactless payment to name a few.

“The number of jobs that our sector provides really stands out in our report. Convenience stores now employ over 386,000 people, giving local jobs to people of all ages and with a range of other commitments.”

Key findings from the report include:

• There are now 50,747 convenience stores in mainland UK, making up a sector that is now worth £37.4billion, a growth of 5.2% on 2013.

• Local shops are a vital source of employment – nationally, the convenience store sector provides jobs for over 386,000 people.

• Local shop owners are some of the hardest working people in the UK – 23% of shop owners work more than 70 hours per week on average, and 20% take no holiday at all throughout the year.

“This report is an incredibly valuable tool in engaging with Government," stressed Lowman. "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.”