ACS Blog

Brexit

So what do you think’s going to happen, then?  No deal, no Brexit, Theresa May’s deal, or some other option as yet undefined? It’s a big part of ACS’ job to be the fulcrum between what happens in politics and what happens in your business, and I think we’re pretty good at providing new and informed analysis to you, and giving credible and evidence-based input to government when it comes to issues related to our sector. On Brexit, frankly, this is a lot harder. It’s the biggest, and certainly the most fever-pitched debate and development in British politics in a generation, and one which cer

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Rating the Budget

Budgets are always a mix of good and bad news for pretty much any business sector, and indeed for individuals and families and other interest groups.  Looking narrowly at the 2018 Budget from the perspective of our members, I’d say there’s more positive than negative news in there.  I’d also give the caveat that much of the real Budget news comes in the documents published when the Chancellor sits down, detailing the proposals, processes and timelines for the headline announcements he skipped over at the despatch

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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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