ACS Blog

The Constant in a Changing World

I’m not sure when we’ll be able to look back and reflect objectively on this extraordinary period in our lives and in the history of the world, the country and our sector. Certainly now – ten weeks on from when Coronavirus truly hit our sector – is far too soon. But we can reflect on what we’ve learned in this time, and I think that times like this reveal more about who we are and the purpose we serve.

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Raj Aggarwal

We were absolutely devastated to hear the the news about the passing of Raj Aggarwal. Raj was an independent retailer, a fixture at ACS’ and other industry events, a member of our independents board, a great entrepreneur, and most importantly a devoted family man.

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A New Normal

I doubt many retailers are going to have time to read a blog from me today, but I wanted to thank the tens of thousands of retailers and the hundreds of thousands of colleagues in local shops who are doing such an amazing job for their communities.

This episode has again brought home the value local shops bring to their communities, and even though I know and expect this, I have been blown away and humbled by all the examples of retailers stepping up for elderly and vulnerable customers in particular.

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Changing from the ground up

Perhaps the most compelling narrative from the 2019 election was of people living outside of big cities and the South East, conveying a sense of chronic under-investment in the fabric of their towns, villages, estates and neighbourhoods. If Britain’s future after leaving the EU is going to be built from these communities up,  pretty good place to start is with the businesses that have kept on serving these places where others have left.

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Why We're Creating 25,000 Dementia Friends

This week we launched a major new campaign to create 25,000 new Dementia Friends in our sector. You’ll see lots of information about the campaign on our website and on social media, and if you have any questions call me or anyone from the ACS team and we’ll make sure you have everything you need to become a Dementia Friend and to help your colleagues to do the same.

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The Cost Equation

I’m writing this on New Years Eve against the backdrop of two important stories for our sector. Firstly, we planned to use today to publicise our concerns about recent reductions in the LINK interchange fee that funds free to use ATMs, and to argue for future increases to be scrapped. LINK really needs to reverse the 10% reductions they’ve already made, which have led to lots of our members seeing their free to use cash machine apply charges, or be lost altogether.

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Chief Executive's Blog: Thanks, Patrick!

Hopefully you notice that the blogs I write here, and other ACS statements and our own social media outputs tend to focus on what’s happening outside of ACS. This is very deliberate: the process of how we make decisions and operate isn’t usually that interesting and members pay us to interact with politics and the market, not to focus on ourselves. In fact when I took over as chief executive, it was an explicit target I set myself to spend far more of our resources and profile looking externally.

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The First Hundred Days

One of the truisms that political historians keep repeating is that the hundred days of a new leader are the most important, firstly because they are the most productive, and secondly because they set the tone for the rest of their time in office. The second reason there is usually true, but I’m not sure the new UK Prime Minister will regard this as the optimal time to get things done.

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