ACS Blog

Review of the Year (part two)

One of the fun if slightly surreal parts of my job is responding to members and others asking me to forecast what’s going to happen next in politics.  Such forecasts are always a bit of guesswork, and the best anyone can really do is analyse the factors at play and come up with some sort of rationale for what might happen next.  I also have a rule that if you want to know what’s likely to happen in an election, listen to the person least connected with the Westminster village where rumours and granular message crafting and media spin cloud the fundamentals of how people in the country at la

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Review of the Year (part one)

It’s that time of year when we reflect on the past twelve months, and we usually see plenty of superlatives from experts and commentators hailing the most significant change, the biggest, most profound impacts on the future.  2017, though, might just have earned the hyperbole where the convenience store sector is concerned. 

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ATMs in focus atm

We were pleased to see Nicky Morgan MP, chair of the Treasury Select Committee, write today to the chairman of LINK, the group that manages the UK’s ATM network, about their proposals to reduce the interchange fees that banks pay to businesses providing ATMs.  I think this is important for convenience stores and the eco system of local businesses that we trade alongside, and I’ll explain why, but first, here’s a very quick primer on how the ATM system works (if you know all this, skip a paragraph).

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A Budget for business?

It’s interesting to see how Budgets have changed over the years. Generally, they’re more interesting (which also means more worrying and unpredictable) when the Chancellor is an ambitious politician mapping out their route from number 11 to number 10 Downing Street. Under Gordon Brown and George Osborne, Budgets were a tour taking in social policy and economic philosophy, a manifesto for the Chancellor as much as a report on the public finances. Philip Hammond strikes a different figure, very obviously constrained by the tight economic and political position he finds himself in, carefully t

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Striking the Right Balance

For all the business debate that categories like food to go, and fresh and chilled (rightly) attract in our sector, the pre-occupations of politicians when it comes to local shops remain those categories that have the most direct impacts on the health of the people and communities we serve.  That's why, for as long as I can remember, politicians have looked for new ways to regulate tobacco and alcohol, and more recently sugar and other foods.

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Dublin up on food to go

Last week I was – along with about 70 retailers and suppliers – in Dublin looking at the much-heralded convenience store market in Ireland.  We saw loads of great stores, but the thing that stood out more than anything else was the outstanding food to go offer in pretty much every site we visited. 

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C-Stores Making Progress on Eliminating Underage Sales

New figures out today from ONS and the NHS have shown that there’s been real progress made by retailers in reducing the sale of restricted products like cigarettes to young people. This is something that the sector should be proud of - in the past there has been a stigma surrounding convenience stores that suggested that they were a haven for young people buying alcohol and tobacco, but this is far from the truth. 

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Chief Executive's Blog: Small Business Hustings

I’m really buzzing after a great hustings event today run by ACS with our friends at the Federation of Small Businesses.  After a general election campaign that has often seen politicians lurching from loudhailer sloganeering to robotic repetition of focus group-tested messages, with some pretty poor TV debates thrown in, today’s event saw my faith restored in good quality, substantive debate on the issues that matter to small shops, small businesses, and the communities we all serve.

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Rates System in Need of Change to Help Retailers Invest

In recent weeks, the Chancellor has come under fire from all sides over the impact of the business rates revaluation, with many claiming that the impact on their businesses could be catastrophic. In the convenience sector, as with many others, the reality is that there will be both winners and losers when the new rates take effect in April.

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