Over two-thirds of independent retailers reported a rise in customers in the past 12 months, according to a survey of 13,500 retailers by PayPoint.

The study shows that 69% of retailers said that footfall has increased in their stores. However, the same number of respondents said that customers are not spending more money in shops.

The survey also revealed that 64% of community retailers are finding life harder than when they started, and 39% of respondents said that they are finding running a business much harder.

Almost half of those surveyed (46%) cited the increase in large multiple stores as the
greatest threat to their business. Government legislation and running costs were cited as a major risk by 36% of retailers.

A third of retailers said that serving the local community was the major motivation for remaining a store owner. The relationship with customers and running their own business both held the most appeal for 25% of retailers.

PayPoint head of corporate affairs Peter Brooker attributed the rise in customers to the effects of the economic downturn.

“As the recession has hit every corner of Britain over the last year and a half, it is heartening to see that people are using their convenience stores more,” said Brooker. “The proximity of convenience stores allows consumers to make smaller transactions for life’s essentials on a regular basis and manage their spending more effectively as a consequence.”

He also praised convenience store retailers for their hard work in the community. “They are under constant pressure and provide a valuable and important service to their local communities,” added Brooker.