The value of the convenience store sector has grown and local shops are thriving according to the 2016 Local Shop Report by the Association of Convenience Stores.
There are just over 50,000 convenience stories in mainland UK and the sector is worth £37.5 billion in 2016, up over £400m on 2015. This growth demonstrates the value that local shops provide to local communities according to the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS).
"Running a successful convenience store requires a lot of hard work and a strong connection to the local community to ensure that the store stays relevant," said James Lowman, ACS chief executive.
Part of the reason for the success of convenience stores is their ability to adapt, according to the report. More than one in four stores (28%) now provide parcel services, with 10% offering a click and collect service and some introducing services like dry cleaning and key cutting. Convenience store owners have invested over £600m over the past year on improvements.
"Retailers have done a fantastic job of diversifying their offering in store and providing a wide range of services, which contributes to the fact that consumers, local councillors and MPs all believe that Post Offices and convenience stores are the services that have the most positive impact on their local area," said Lowman.
The convenience store sector provides jobs for 390,000 people, but the number of staff employed in each store has fallen. "For the first time since we started this research in 2012, we have seen a decline in job numbers as well as more staff working part-time hours," said Lowman. "This is consistent with the feedback from other ACS surveys showing retailers cutting back on staff hours to cope with the big increases in wage costs, not least because of the National Living Wage."
Meanwhile, the report also reveals that convenience store owners are some of the hardest working entrepreneurs in the UK, with 24% of retailers working over 70 hours per week and 22% taking no holiday at all throughout the year.