ACS Highlights Essential Role of Convenience Stores on Future High Streets

ACS (the Association of Convenience Stores) has responded to an inquiry led by the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee on the future of UK high streets and town centres, calling on the Committee to look at ways to reduce the burden of business rates on retailers trading on high streets.

In the submission, ACS has called for a series of measures to ensure the sustainability of high streets and the ability of retailers trading on high streets to invest. Recommendations made in the submission include:

  • Strengthening ‘Town Centre First’ planning policy to drive investment into town centres
  • Incentivising investment through the business rates system instead of penalising retailers for making improvements in their stores
  • Ensuring that national coverage of the ATM network is protected to maintain consumers’ access to cash by removing free to use ATMs from the rating system altogether
  • Adopting a new approach to the taxation of online businesses to ensure that they pay their fair share of business rates

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Convenience stores are becoming increasingly relevant to consumers, taking on other services like food to go, pharmacy, banking services, dry cleaning and others that struggled as standalone specialist stores on high streets. However, this investment in providing a wide range of services to customers is at risk of being stifled by the business rates system. There can be a positive future for high streets and local parades, but this must include support from central and local Government to reduce operating costs and ensure that the business rates system incentivises investment and encourages retailers to make improvements in their stores.”

ACS research shows that Post Offices and convenience stores have been viewed as having the most positive impact on local communities for four consecutive years. 37% of convenience stores are located in urban areas.

ACS is a member of the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s Future High Streets Forum (FHSF), which was set up following the Portas Review in 2012. The full submission to the Committee’s Inquiry is available here.

The Great British High Street Awards 2018 were launched earlier this week (21st June) and communities across the UK are being encouraged to back their local high streets by entering them for a chance to win. For more information, visit-

This entry was posted by Chloe on Fri, 22/06/2018 - 15:08