The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has hosted a roundtable with retailers and representatives from the Low Pay Commission to discuss the impact of the National Living Wage (NLW) on convenience stores.
During the roundtable, retailers discussed their experiences with Low Pay Commissioners Neil Carberry and Kay Carberry, highlighting their concerns about the impact of COVID-19 related operating costs to their business, including PPE for colleagues, in-store signage and temporary recruitment of colleagues.
Retailers operating rural and neighbourhood stores noted an increase in trade but stores trading from locations more reliant on passing footfall have struggled.
Findings from ACS’ COVID-19 Impact Survey revealed that while two thirds of convenience stores have seen sales increase in the last two months, a third have seen a fall in sales with 26% reporting that sales have fallen significantly.
ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Local shops have done a phenomenal job in adapting their businesses to ensure that they can continue to serve their communities while keeping their colleagues and customers safe. Employment costs are one of the biggest operational challenges for retailers who are already under immense pressure as a result of Covid-19. It was extremely useful for our members to share these experiences directly with Low Pay Commissioners.”
The Low Pay Commission will publish a report in Autumn 2020 with its recommendations for the NMW/NLW rates to apply in 2021/22 and assessments about the potential impact of COVID-19 on the NLW target.
ACS provided written evidence to the Low Pay Commission earlier this month and will be giving oral evidence in July.