ACS highlights vital role of c-stores in APPG on Future of Retail

During an All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on the Future of Retail, the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has highlighted the security, sustainability and flexibility of local employment in the convenience sector.

The evidence session, chaired by Liz Twist MP, heard from James Lowman (ACS chief executive), Cliff Lee (Retail Trust head of wellbeing), Neil Duffy (Retail Trust commercial and services director), Helen Barker (EVRi head of public affairs) and Chris Morris (USDAW deputy head of research and policy).

The aim of the session is to examine the retail workforce as the sector recovers from previous coronavirus restrictions and adapts to other pressures including the growing cost-of-living crisis.

During the evidence session, ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Convenience stores offer local, flexible and secure employment for hundreds of thousands of people in communities across the UK.

Local shops acted as a lifeline for their customers throughout the pandemic and demonstrated the adaptability and resilience of the sector but our members are now facing new challenges in light of the cost of living crisis and these businesses cannot face these pressures alone.

“The Queen’s Speech earlier this month was a missed opportunity to recognise examples of good employment in the sector and to take action to address insecure employment in the gig economy.”

Findings from the 2021 Local Shop Report show that there are almost 400,000 people working in the convenience sector in 2021, 92% of which are on a permanent employment contract.

The All Party Group on the Future of Retail serves to provide a forum to engage with interested stakeholders and promote the value of the retail sector in collaboration with industry.