Almost a quarter of a million people in the UK are employed by independent retailers, a new Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) study has revealed.
The ACS Local Shop Report 2012 has revealed that more than 372,000 people work in the convenience sector, with 221,680 of these employed by symbol groups and unaffiliated independent retailers.
ACS public affairs director Shane Brennan said convenience stores provided a vital source of employment in communities. “In every estate, village, town or city there is a c-store business providing vital employment for a whole range of people - some starting out on a career, others returning to work, and some just earning a little extra,” he said.
“I have more than 100 employees across five stores, and most of them are from the local community. Doing this provides a personal touch that the multiples can’t match.”
“I have three stores and always try to employ as many local people as possible. Doing this helps grow the local community and builds up good relations with people who live nearby.”
“There are 92 staff members working in our nine stores and a lot of them live locally. We always do our best to get involved with the local community, and providing employment opportunities is a great way to do that.”
Bishop Retail, County Durham, Sunderland and Cleveland
Retailers believe that choosing employees from local communities also strengthens the link between the business and customers.
Saqib Ghafoor employs 30 people in his two Newcastle Nisa stores, most of whom live in the surrounding area. “It really helps to build a relationship in a community as you’re providing both a service and employment,” he said. “It works both ways as having people live locally means you can call in more staff if needed, plus customers feel more comfortable if they know the people working at the store.”
Syed Hussain, operations manager of London’s Sunstar Group, said he was able to provide flexibile and dependable employment to his 160-plus staff. “Employees can leave for three to four months and then come back knowing there may be a job for them,” he said.
The report also found that, of those employed in the convenience sector, 64% are women and 43% of employees remain working in a store for between one and five years. Bucking the belief that independent retail jobs are kept in the family, just 27% employ only family members, while 40% employ no family members at all. It also revealed that 88% of shops offer training to employees.