The convenience sector could benefit from a new era of consensus politics and a period of light-touch regulation after the General Election result, store owners have concluded.
With the Conservatives losing their overall majority, retailers are looking for positives amid further political and economic uncertainty.
Bracknell Londis retailer Arjan Mehr said there was now an unprecedented opportunity to promote the convenience agenda. The best result of the election was that “no party can push their dogmatic agenda, so consensus politics will have to prevail,” he said.
“There is some wriggle room to push our agenda. An example is business rates, where there is already consensus, so something can be achieved now,” he added.
“We need to look at the big picture, at what needs to be done. Bricks and mortar businesses need to be on the agenda.”
However, retailers need to step up their political engagement, Arjan argued. “We can’t keep on doing the same old - just writing to MPs isn’t enough. We need more political hustings like the one the ACS organised before the election; it would give the industry far more exposure.”
High-profile Nisa retailer Kishor Patel said consensus politics would help in terms of policy, but warned that there would be more “half baked cakes” rather than strong decisions. He welcomed the potential for a ‘softer’ Brexit, which could result in some movement of people to help fuel industry.
Somerset Spar retailer Mark Canniford said “interfering” regulation would not be on the agenda in the short term. “There will be a period of time where we’ll be left alone in terms of red tape, and we’ll be able to get on with our jobs.
“We need consensus politics - there’s a small possibility of that, it’s what I’ve always wanted as I believe in coalition politics. What we need in retail is stability, but Theresa May has let the country down by creating the opposite.”