The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has launched new guidance for retailers on how to meet the needs of disabled customers in store.

At least one in three customers in the UK is disabled or close to someone with a disability - making the guide of great value to convenience retailers - and to wider industry, Minister of State for Small Business and Enterprise, Anna Soubry MP said.

The guide has been developed in partnership with the Business Disability Forum (BDF) and covers a range of issues including wheelchair access, how to assist blind, visually impaired, or deaf customers, and how to help those with dementia.

There are also tips on structural changes which can be made in store such as lower counters and ramps, along with best practice for when communicating with disabled customers, including those with learning disabilities, such as advice on ‘what to say’ and ‘what not to say’.

Disabled customers have a spending power of around £212bn a year according to the BDF.

ACS chief executive, James Lowman said: “Convenience stores serve a wide range of customers from all age groups, social demographics and backgrounds, and can play a particularly important role for disabled and elderly customers who value the personalised service and convenient location of a local shop.

“This guide helps retailers and staff to make their stores as accessible as possible, and to meet the needs of disabled customers”.