Big drop in investment by convenience retailers

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The investment by convenience retailers in their businesses has declined by 24 percent over the last year, reveals new data from the Association of Convenience Stores.

According to the ACS Investment Tracker, the UK’s 46,000 local shops have invested £558 million in their businesses in the 12 months to November, as opposed to the £737 million in the previous year.

James Lowman, chief executive of the ACS, attributed the uncertainty around the Brexit and the upcoming General Election to the scaling back on investments by retailers.

“Continuing uncertainty over Brexit and the General Election has led to some convenience retailers holding back on investment plans, which is why we’re seeing a year on year decrease in investment levels overall,” he said.

The figures reveal that the vast majority of investment for independent retailers is being self-funded, with 68 percent dipping into their own reserves. Just 4 percent of retailers are getting funding from banks for their investment plans.

Refrigeration was the most common form of investment across the sector.

ACS has called for ‘swift action’ by next government on business rates to ensure that investment is incentivised.

“The next Government must take swift action to address the imbalances in the business rates system. We must ensure that convenience retailers and other small businesses are given the right conditions to be able to invest, instead of being put off by the threat of hikes to their rates bills,” Lowman said.