The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has warned the Low Pay Commission (LPC) that any further increase in the National Minimum Wage will cost jobs and discourage investment in the convenience store sector. 

In a face-to-face evidence session, the ACS told the LPC that 70% of retailers had cut jobs and staff hours as a result of the 2010 minimum wage increase.

It added that retailers were cutting investment as a result of increased employment costs and that further minimum age increases in 2012 would be unaffordable in the context of record increases in business rates and other costs. 

“The National Minimum Wage should be a floor below which wages should not fall,” said ACS chief executive James Lowman. “It is now at such a level that it is causing people to be laid off or have their hours cut. We have also seen evidence of retailers moving to a younger age profile for staff and eroding differentials for higher paid staff.

“More than ever before, the Commission is taking evidence at a time when the future for UK businesses is uncertain,” added Lowman. “With other costs increasing in 2012, and with margins tighter than ever, a minimum wage increase in 2012 will cost jobs and investment.”

The ACS also set up an independently facilitated focus group to explore in detail retailers’ responses to the National Minimum Wage which met earlier this year.

The LPC is set to make its report on the National Minimum Wage to government early next year.