The Association of Convenience Stores has urged the Low Pay Commission to carefully assess the impact of the rise of the minimum wage on small retailers.

In its submission to the Commission, the ACS cited its own research showing 56% of retailers said rises in the minimum wage made their business less competitive.

Its survey also showed the impact of wage rises on employment, with 62% of retailers indicating that they had laid off staff in the past year, of which 71% attributed their decision to increased employment costs.

Some 80% of retailers responding to ACS’ national minimum wage survey believed that the LPC should recommend a freeze in the minimum wage.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Retailers are urging the Low Pay Commission to consider carefully the negative effects of wage inflation on job creation and investment and to resist political pressure to inflate the minimum wage. 

“Local shops are operating in an extremely competitive market with significant inflationary pressure on costs across the business. So whilst there is optimism, and signs of investment and job creation across the convenience sector it is fragile and must be nurtured. The worse thing that the Commission could do is undermine this by dramatically increasing the minimum wage.”

In addition to the written submission, ACS will be providing oral evidence to the Low Pay Commission in November.