The vital role that convenience stores play in local communities across Wales has been highlighted in the 2020 Welsh Local Shop Report.
Well over 80% of convenience stores in Wales are independently owned and more than 60% operate in rural locations, providing essential services to their local communities, including bill payment services (79%), cash machines (68%) and post offices (25%), the report by the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) reveals.
Just under 40% of stores also operate in an area with no other retail/service businesses nearby and shoppers travel an average of 2.07 miles to their local shop, with 46% of shoppers in Wales driving to stores.
Welsh convenience stores also play an active role in their local areas, with 82% of independent retailers having engaged in some form of community activity in the past year, the report showed.
They also make a key contribution to the economy, generating £2.5bn in sales in the last year and providing over 27,000 jobs.
ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Local shops provide secure and flexible working to thousands of people across Wales and act as a social hub for many of their customers.
“Convenience stores in Wales are a lifeline for the communities that they serve, not only providing daily groceries but also tackling loneliness and hosting essential services that customers may not otherwise have access to.
“We have seen convenience retailers invest in their stores to provide the services that their customers need in the wake of the closures other service providers, such banks and Post Offices.”
The full report is available to download here