20,000 jobs disappear from c-store sector

  • Print
  • Share
  • Comments (8)
  • Save

The number of jobs in the UK convenience store sector has fallen for the second consecutive year as business costs such as the National Living Wage continue to make an ongoing impact on business operations.

According to the Association of Convenience Stores’ (ACS) 2017 Local Shop Report, released this week, there are now just over 370,000 jobs in the convenience sector - a reduction on both last year’s total of 390,000 and 2015’s total of 407,000.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Convenience stores provide flexible employment for more than 370,000 people across the UK, but this number has fallen as a result of significant increases in the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage, as well as other associated employment costs, alongside rising costs in other areas like business rates.

“In many cases, store owners are having to reduce the number of hours that their staff work while picking up extra hours themselves.”

Data from the report shows that 20% of independent convenience store owners work more than 70 hours a week, while 19% take no holiday.

Conrad Davies, owner of five Spar stores in North Wales said: “We employ 130 people and had five redundancies last time the National Living Wage was increased. We have had to make cost-cutting decisions to safeguard against future increases.

“I dread to think how businesses are going to cope if the National Living Wage rises to as much as £9.”

Chris Pollard, owner of Barlby Village Stores, Selby, Yorkshire, said he hadn’t had to cut staff numbers yet, but may have to in future as wage rates and the cost of pension scheme provision begin to bite. He added: “What winds me up is that politicians do not think about the cost of their policies and the retailers have to pay the price. We have 18 staff, and what with the pension scheme and other costs, each member of staff is costing me a lot more, about £2,500 a month.”

Investing for the future

Despite the cost hikes, some c-store retailers have invested in their businesses, with more than £858m spent in the past year on improving stores, extending product ranges and making businesses more efficient, according to the report.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “The intense competition and rising sales in the convenience sector demonstrate that local shops have never been more relevant to the lives of consumers. Technology and consumer needs are changing rapidly, so stores are evolving to offer more products and services.”

Retailers’ views

“I think those staff with current contracts have benefited from the wage rises. However, when staff ask to change their hours or leave then we haven’t replaced them. ”

Ramesh Shingadia, Londis, Horsham, West Sussex

“We have the minimum amount of staff we need to run the store. But there is a danger that the rate will go up again and, along with rates and product inflation, it is tough to adapt.”

Harry Goraya, Rosherville Post Office (Nisa), Gravesend, Kent

Readers' comments (8)

  • Not surprising. Employment has faced a massive raft of government directives which fix costs. The Living and Minimum wage is now a standard of wage levels, which the majority of employees all employers aim for. Market forces of supply and demand are dead. It is not surprising that we are all poorer. Business rates and energy costs to a big degree are inflexible and out of our control. The work place pension is mandatory and impacting on employment. The apprenticeship levy is another tax.

    The big consequence is that productivity and profitability suffer.

    Lets get rid of this Stalinist planned control and let businesses flourish in the market - which seems to no longer exist.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • yes the costs of energy and rates are rising . yet I believe the staff should be justly rewarded . staff should not be looked down as pure cost but an asset to the business . what retailers should be looking at is increasing productivity of the staff . in my business I pay base rate plus bonus depending on staff's skill and productivity . I train my staff to be able to do various jobs at higher level . the other factor is work environment is friendly and non confrontational . this makes staff more productive . there is always some dead wood which need to be removed to maintain high productivity .

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • One of the additional costs within the Living Rage rise is the employee who has been with us a lot of years,and are well over 65 + we like having them here, but why should they be entitled to a higher wage than younger staff who are fitter and do more stock moving etc., We've just had one who is over 70 return after a long period of sick( 9 weeks) we had to pay SSP which is not recoverable, in addition to paying other staff to cover her hours. The legislation has made it a ridiculous scenario.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Spiralling costs, increased paperwork and due diligence and compliance, government directives, heathy eating dads and falling sales are contributing to lower employment numbers in the convenience trade.
    It is interesting to see McDonald's response to the London and Cambridge strikers by announcing possible refurbishment and change in their fast food outlets by bringing in the Burger robots.
    Robots, computerisation and ultra mechanisation is on the move which will reduce employment numbers massively. DF

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Heh Ash,

    You mention a just wage. There is sadly no such wage - just a minimum directive from the government, which has become the standard for all to aim for.
    You say you pay a bonus. This is a dangerous area which could lead to disputes on the grounds of unfairness and matters of equality. You need to keep objective records as to why you pay bonuses to individuals and not others. Shopkeeping is not like a production line with the speed of cans or packaging. Shopkeeping is an all encompassing service and difficult to measure for an individual and individual contribution and the payment of individual bonuses. It would be better to bring in the Robots to save a potential tribunal case.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • To S Rimmer,you are a disgrace.Thank goodness i have never had the misfortune to work for you.I am sure your staff feel appreciated for ALL you do for them .Remember without your staff you have NOTHING.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Nurse! Mr Rimmer is employing a 70 year old who has long term illness. Now I don't know Mr(?) Rimmer but this sorry tale leads me to think that perhaps he should find alternative work because running a C-store business isn't within his capabilities.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • It’s quite clear that minimum wage and other legislation did have an impact on some businesses but it is also equally important to note that online trade has struck a blow to “bricks and mortar” businesses. Just as the vast majority of airline tickets are now bought online wiping out high street shops doing the same, the convenience sector is going through the same change, and so no wonder jobs in the sector is continuing to haemorrhage. Couple this with self-checkouts which is now becoming the norm and not the exception will also kill more jobs.
    Cost cutting with technology and operating at the absolute minimum on management structure is the only way some mults can provide shareholder value and so that’s not a surprise. The threat of Amazon and the German discounters will accelerate this even further. I am sure the vast majority of readers of this magazine has done some online shopping and for every transaction you make is one less for the bricks and mortar shops! I just hope that the government plays a constructive role in order to redress the imbalance between online businesses and the high street, everything from rates to the other unproductive useless legislation saddling the convenience sector.

    Arjan Mehr Londis Bracknell

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

These comments have not been moderated.

You are encouraged to participate with comments that are relevant to our news stories. You should not post comments that are abusive, threatening, defamatory, misleading or invasive of privacy. For the full terms and conditions for commenting see clause 7 of our Terms and Conditions ‘Participating in Online Communities’. These terms may be updated from time to time, so please read them before posting a comment.

Any comment that violates these terms may be removed in its entirety as we do not edit comments.

If you wish to complain about a comment please use the “report this comment” facility or email groceremails@wrbm.com

Mandatory
Mandatory
Mandatory
Mandatory

Related images

  • Staff living wage
  • Print
  • Share
  • Comments (8)
  • Save
Sign in

Newsletter Sign-up

I wish to receive the following newsletters:

FOLLOW US