A survey has revealed that 57% of independent retailers own their stores, compared with just 25% who rent, with the remainder in more complex structures.

The statistics form part of the Association of Convenience Store’s (ACS) 2013 Local Shop Report. Now in its second year, the study will be officially unveiled next month and provides new insights into the convenience retail sector.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “This is the first time that we’ve had this data available to us, and it is incredibly useful in painting a rich picture of the convenience store sector to government. It is interesting to see that most own their stores rather than rent. This shows local shops are making a long-term investment in their communities.”

The news was welcomed by Devon retailer Dan Cock, who is considering buying the freehold for his Whitstone Village Stores outlet, where he is currently a leaseholder. “The value of your business declines the closer it gets to the end of its lease, so buying a freehold is worth it in the long run. I would expect the number of retailers who own their stores to rise as the banks free up lending to small businesses, enabling more to buy freehold properties.”