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Rural Shop Report 2020

The 2020 Rural Shop Report highlights the importance of the UK’s 16,986 rural shops, who continue to provide around 146,000 local, flexible and secure jobs.

The report also demonstrates the importance of rural shops to the communities they serve. People in rural areas rated their local convenience store as their number one most essential service, in addition to the service that overall has the most positive impact on their local area. Rural shop customers are also more dependent on these stores because the nearest alternative is further afield than in urban areas.

Speaking at the launch of the report, ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “The UK’s rural shops provide a lifeline for hundreds of thousands of people, not just through the provision of everyday essentials and a range of services, but also by providing secure local jobs in otherwise isolated communities. They do all of this despite facing an uphill battle to gain access to decent broadband speeds and reliable mobile connectivity, and if they have a cash machine on the premises, to keep that machine free to use for customers. If this Government is committed to levelling up the UK economy, it must include plans to level the playing field for our rural shops.”

Other key findings from the 2020 Rural Shop Report include:

  • Rural shops generated over £15bn in sales over the last year, contributing around £3.3bn in GVA
  • More than half (53%) of rural shops operate with no other retail/service businesses close by
  • Rural consumers report that the most valuable services offered in their local convenience store are cash machines, post offices and fresh food to go
  • 45% of rural shops provide a free to use cash machine for local customers

Download the 2020 Rural Shop Report