Independent retailers are more optimistic now about future success than they have been for the past two years.

In the latest Association of Convenience Stores ‘Voice of Local Shops’ survey, only three out of 10 retailers reported a decrease in sales compared to this time last year - the lowest number since the survey began.

The Optimism Index - the net outcome of retailers expecting sales to rise or fall - also reached its highest point since May 2012.

The recovery has not been uniform across the country, with 39% of retailers in the North East reporting a decrease in sales with just 19% reporting an increase. As a result retailers in the area are wary of increasing staff hours, with just 7% planning to do so, compared to 29% in the North West.

Chief executive James Lowman said retailers were feeling optimistic and hoped it will grow as major sporting events approach.

“The wider economic recovery being experienced over the last six months has filtered down to convenience, giving retailers more confidence about the coming year,” he said.

“We hope events like the World Cup and Wimbledon will fuel growing levels of optimism and lead to a profitable period for retailers across the country.”