ACS Blog

Thoughts From Party Conference Season

It feels like a bit of a fool’s errand trying to pick out from party conference season the hard policy news related to convenience stores.  Let’s not kid ourselves, these events aren’t about setting a detailed policy agenda, they are about big messages played to the base of activists and to the media, and ambitious politicians raising their profile with both of those audiences. This year’s agenda – in truth not unlike the past few years – has been so dominated by Britain’s exit from the European Union that the headlines aren’t really being made by retail issues.

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What Does a Good Deposit Return Scheme Look Like?

You can’t ignore the debate on plastics and the environmental impact of the bottles and bags that are too often discarded into the countryside, waterways and oceans. One of my rules in working out how ACS should address policy challenges is to first step back and ask, “is this a real issue, are the people who are concerned about it justified in demanding action?” In this case, the answer to these questions is definitely “yes” (let me know if you disagree, but the evidence looks pretty compelling to me) so we should think about what local shops can do to help tackle this problem. Of course,

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The Importance of Flexible Employment in the Convenience Sector

Hopefully you’ve seen our 2018 Local Shop Report, launched (appropriately, perhaps) at the National Space Centre in Leicester.  There’s loads of data in the report, some of it from our own research, and some kindly provided by our friends at HIM, IGD, William Reed and Experian.  You can go through the information that’s most relevant to your business, but I want to think a bit more deeply about the information related to people working in convenience stores, in the context of the debate in politics at the moment about employment in the UK, where rates of

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What Future for Business Rates?

The continuing struggles of some of the UK’s most well-known high street businesses (House of Fraser being the most recent of these to hit the headlines) has led many to once again point the finger at the business rates system as a major contributor to the decline of bricks and mortar stores.

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New Thinking on Shop Theft

This week the Centre for Social Justice has published a report called Desperate for a Fix, focusing on tackling retail crime and calling for fresh thinking at a national and local level to find policies that can address the increases in theft and other crime that retailers have experienced recently.  ACS sponsored this report, but it's independent work by a respected policy thinker (and former police officer) called Rory Geoghegan who specialises in this area.  Because it's his report, it doesn't approach the issue from a retailers' perspective, but I think it gets to the meat of the issues

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Addressing Employment Challenges

We’re asking for your help in completing our National Living Wage survey and I hope and expect we’ll get a strong response from retailers because it’s the biggest financial issue facing our sector.  How do we cope with our biggest cost rising by over 4% per year, above inflation and the growth rates in this (and pretty much any) sector?  We really need to hear from you about the impact on your business.

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Impact of Wage Increases

At the start of April, the rates retailers must pay their colleagues went up, specifically to £7.83 for those aged 25 or above, and £7.38 for those between 21 and 24.  The comprehensive list of rate changes is here so make sure you're paying at or above these rates.  

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Energy Drinks

There's been a lot of debate recently about the sale of energy drinks to children.  It's interesting to see the dynamics of this issue: Jamie Oliver, buoyed by his success in persuading the government to introduce a levy on sugary drinks, has now turned his sights directly to the retailers who sell high caffeine drinks.  How do you, as a retailer, and we, as a trade body, respond to such a campaign?

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Local Shops in Wales

We had a really great day in Cardiff last week, launching the Welsh Local Shop Report which gives all the facts and figures on the contribution that our members make to communities and the economy in Wales.  It’s a really positive story: more store per head than any other part of the UK, 25,000 jobs, £49m of investment, and a higher proportion of that going into providing essential services like post offices and free-to-use ATMs.

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