Convenience retailers in Wales invested over £44m in their businesses in 2018, with the vast majority coming from retailers’ own reserves despite rising costs, according to the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS).

The 2019 Welsh Local Shop Report revealed there are currently 2,923 convenience stores in Wales, contributing almost 23,000 jobs. Over three-quarters (83%) of stores are run by independent retailers, generating sales of around £2.5bn in 2018.

The ACS report also revealed a rise in investment in providing services for customers, with 79% of stores offering contactless payment, 29% of stores providing a Post Office or Post Office counter and 67% of stores providing bill payment services.

In addition, 81% of retailers in Wales having taken part in some form of community activity over the last year, either through raising money for local charities or getting involved with community events, projects and partnerships.

ACS chief executive, James Lowman, said: “Local shops are an essential part of Welsh communities, creating thousands of local, flexible jobs and providing not just a local grocery offer, but also acting as a social hub and offering a range of services that many people in the rural and isolated communities of Wales would otherwise not be able to access.

“Being able to provide such a diverse offer to customers locally is becoming ever more important, especially in those communities that have seen other service providers like banks and specialist stores leave.”