A new report by the Association of Convenience Stores has revealed the indispensable role the sectors plays in rural Wales.
The 2020 Welsh Local Shop Report found that 62 percent of local shops in Wales operate in rural locations, providing essential services to their local communities, including bill payment services (79%), cash machines (68%) and Post Offices (25%).
The report also sheds light on the contribution of the sector to Welsh economy, with convenience stores providing over 27,000 jobs and generating £2.5 billion in sales.
There are 2,931 local shops in Wales, 84 percent of which are independently owned. 39 percent of stores operate in an area with no other retail/service businesses nearby. The average shopper in Wales visits their local shop four times per week.
The report found that a great majority (82%) of independent retailers has engaged in some form of community activity in the past year.
“Convenience stores in Wales are a lifeline for the communities that they serve, not only providing daily groceries but also tackling loneliness and hosting essential services that customers may not otherwise have access to,” commented James Lowman, chief executive of the ACS.
“We have seen convenience retailers invest in their stores to provide the services that their customers need in the wake of the closures other service providers, such banks and Post Offices.”