Every year since 2012 we have published the Local Shop Report, our annual look at the convenience sector, and this year’s is the most comprehensive report yet.

Throughout this year’s report there is a slight change in tone in the way that we approach the different parts of the sector. We’re focusing more than ever on the importance of the sector to the people who live and work in the communities around c-stores, and the enormous contribution that the sector makes to the economy every year through both direct and indirect tax contributions.

The convenience sector generates more than £40bn in sales and £8.8bn in Gross Value Added, which is more than many other higher profile sectors in the UK. The core message of the Local Shop Report is that our sector is crucially important, and in the coming weeks and months we’ll be taking that message to decision-makers including MPs, officials, mayors and councillors.

There is some new information in this year’s report which will be especially relevant in the current political landscape. We now have new figures on the way that stores in the sector receive products, either through delivered wholesale, visits to cash and carries, or both, which will help us to explain the extent to which convenience stores rely on different supply chains if there is disruption in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

We have also quantified the amount of additional space that retailers have in their stores. This is interesting for a number of reasons, including how much flexibility retailers have on their premises to be able to expand and invest. In the current climate, it’s useful in demonstrating the issues that smaller stores will have if they feel that they need to stockpile products – again, if there is disruption as a result of the Brexit negotiations. In short, almost one in four independent retailers tell us that they have no additional space in stores, so they will be especially reliant on deliveries coming in on time and at capacity.

We will continue to use the report to highlight the importance of the convenience sector to MPs, but there’s no substitute for getting them into your store and explaining what you’re doing and concerns you may have.