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The Association of Convenience Stores raised concerns about future wage rates at an oral evidence session held by the Low Pay Commission on 18 July, detailing the impact that rising costs from wage increases have on the convenience sector.

“We know from retailers that they continue to look for ways to increase productivity and efficiency in their business but it is increasingly difficult for retailers to fund the level of investment needed to achieve the margins needed to pay higher wage rates,” said James Lowman, chief executive of the ACS.

Lowman added that retailers are taking number of measures that affect business growth in response to rising wage rates. These included delaying investments in their stores, cutting back on staff hours and taking on more hours themselves, he noted.

Minimum wages are expected to reach the Low Pay Commission’s target of 60% of median earnings by 2020, a rate which is currently predicted to be £8.62 for the National Living Wage. The Commission is currently consulting on its future remit post-2020.