New research commissioned by wholesaler Palmer & Harvey shows that independent convenience retailers see the Living Wage as their biggest challenge in the year ahead, and they are looking to their local councils for support.

According to the research, independent convenience retailers are most likely to cut staff costs and increase prices in response to the Living Wage. One in three stores say they will either reduce staff hours or increase prices, and one in five will cut staff numbers outright.

The data also shows that 22% of independent retailers are looking to the local council to help them find solutions.

The survey of 500 UK independent retailers comes one month after the introduction of the Living Wage.

Chris Etherington, chairman and CEO of Palmer & Harvey, commented: “Our research confirms that independent retailers see the Living Wage as the greatest challenge facing them, and that they will respond by cutting staff costs and increasing prices.

“Stores around the UK are looking to Local Councils to help secure the 400,000 jobs in convenience retail and offer solutions to the issues facing the sector.

“While agreeing with the principle of a living wage for our customers, this research shows that implementation will be challenging.”

The data from Palmer & Harvey shows other major concerns for independent retailers include the sugar tax on soft drinks and changes to business rates.