The future survival of thousands of convenience stores will be jeopardised by the introduction of the national living wage in April 2016, according to The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS).

New research by ACS shows that:

• the total cost of a £7.20 national living wage will be £166m across the convenience sector;

• over 24,000 stores and 80,000 jobs could be put at risk by this policy;

• the increased employment allowance, announced alongside the national living wage, provides comparatively small compensation for convenience stores.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “We have always supported a national minimum wage, but the move to a higher compulsory national living wage will have a devastating impact on our sector.

“Our analysis only looks at the increase to a £7.20 national living wage from 2016, and as this rises to £9 by 2020 there could be far greater effect than even these figures suggest. This analysis is backed up by evidence provided by our members which shows that they will be closing stores and laying staff off as a result of this policy.

“The chancellor must face up to the impact of the national living wage on businesses, and continue to let the independent Low Pay Commission set rates through to 2020. The government also needs to look at other ways of supporting retailers hit by this new burden.”