Give us a break! Over half of convenience store owners haven’t had a day off in over a year

Give us a break! Over half of convenience store owners haven’t had a day off in over a year

49% of independent convenience store owners have reported that they’ve worked every day over the last year, doubling the total from last year (24%).

The 2021 Local Shop Report, published this week by the Association of Convenience Stores, highlights how hard retailers have been working over the last 12 months to keep communities going and make sure that there is still enough on the shelves for customers.

In previous years before the pandemic, around one in five retailers reported taking no days off, but this has jumped significantly over the last year as retailers have needed to keep up with waves of lockdowns, regulation changes, staff shortages and supply chain issues.

Association of Convenience Stores chief executive James Lowman said: “This last year has been hugely challenging for convenience stores, who have been open through every local and national lockdown, with retailers having to act fast to keep their stores safe for both customers and colleagues.

Hardest working people

“The people running and working in convenience stores are some of the hardest working people in the UK and are absolutely crucial to their communities. With more people working from home or hybrid working, there is more of a reliance than ever on the local shop to provide essential groceries and a wide range of services that have otherwise disappeared from high streets and local parades.”

Despite all the challenges faced by stores over the last year, retailers and their colleagues have remained highly active in their communities. 80% of stores are engaged in their community in some form, with the majority collecting money for local and national charities, and over one in three donating to local food banks. Stores are also still investing in providing a better and wider range of services, with over £500m invested over the last year alone.

The efforts of convenience stores has not gone unnoticed, with consumers rating convenience stores as the number one service that has a positive impact on their communities, followed by pharmacies and post offices.

Other key figures from this year’s report include:

  • Over 70% of convenience stores are run by independent retailers
  • There are almost 400,000 people working in the convenience sector in 2021 in the UK, 92% of which are on a permanent employment contract.
  • Convenience store colleagues worked a combined 9.6million hours over the last year
  • The convenience sector overall is now worth over £43bn a year
  • Consumers rate convenience stores as the top local service that has a positive impact in their community, followed by pharmacies and post offices.