The vital contribution that convenience stores make to their communities and local economies has been reinforced by the 2015 Association of Convenience Stores’ (ACS) Local Shop Report.
Post offices and convenience stores top the list of services deemed to have the most positive impact on the high street, according to consumers and councillors, followed by pharmacies and coffee shops.
More than 80% of independent retailers participated in some form of community activity in the past year, the report finds, with most collecting money for a charity.
Well over a quarter (32%) also provided funding for community events, 21% sponsored a local sports team or other community activity, while 10% engaged with a community, council or local business association or project.
The report also highlights the extent to which independent retailers are investing in new technology, with energy-saving systems such as chiller doors, smart meters and LED lighting all increasing. Almost half (48%) of c-stores feature chiller doors, 27% have a smart meter and 12% have LED lights.
Investment in refrigeration has also increased significantly with 30% of c-stores boasting more than 10m of refrigeration, up from 16% in 2014.
A quarter of retailers, meanwhile, have a website, 23% have a Facebook page and 20% are on Twitter, while 14% feature digital advertising screens.
ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “The report demonstrates that the convenience sector is continuing to adapt to meet the needs of customers.
“By diversifying their offering and the services they provide, they have firmly established themselves at the heart of their communities.”