Convenience store retailers are more likely to want the next government to focus on stimulating the economy ahead of controlling business costs, an exclusive General Election survey for C-Store has revealed.

Our poll of 100 retailers, conducted by HIM Research & Consulting, found that 40% of respondents will vote Conservative on June 8, compared with 17% Labour and 5% Liberal Democrats. However, 34% refused to disclose their voting intentions. Of those who did answer, the Conservative vote rises to 60%. 

Asked their number one priority for the next government, ‘stimulating the economy’ was the most popular option among respondents (37%), followed by ‘controlling business costs’ (24%) and ‘investing in policing’ (18%).

However, the results differed between symbol retailers and independent (unaffiliated) retailers. A similar proportion of independents cited ‘controlling business costs’ (32%) and ‘stimulating the economy’ (34%) as their top priority, while a higher proportion of symbol retailers (32% against 4% of independents) prioritised ‘investing in policing’.

Nearly one in three (31%) of respondents said they were likely to change their vote from the 2015 General Election. Of those respondents, 41% said their political view had changed, and 10% cited Brexit as their reason.

In terms of Brexit, 44% said they thought that leaving the EU would improve the economy; 27% said it would weaken it; and 29% said it would have no impact.

Association of Convenience Stores chief executive James Lowman said: “The feedback we get is that because the performance of convenience retailing is less dependent on the ups and downs of the overall economy and more based on local factors, retailers tend to be more focused on issues that directly impact on their costs. This survey is an interesting counterpoint to that view.

“Retailers need to make their views known to candidates through store visits and building a relationship with their MP after the election.”