Around two thirds of convenience stores have seen sales increase during the virus lockdown period, while 26% have seen a significant fall, according to a new survey by ACS.


The ACS Covid-19 Impact Survey reveals that forecourts, city centre stores and those near transport hubs have been negatively affected, while neighbourhood and rural stores have generally seen an increase in sales.

The survey, which was carried out between 13 April and 1 May with a sample representing 4,896 stores, highlights the huge growth in home delivery in the sector, with 62% of stores now providing some form of delivery service. Convenience stores now complete over 600,000 deliveries a week, according to ACS.

The survey also shows that 37% of retailers say supply into their stores has been impacted to a very large extent; more than half of stores (56%) offer ‘card not present’ transactions, enabling volunteers to shop for vulnerable people locally, and just 4% of retailers have received a loan through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme. Violence and verbal abuse has increased in 40% of stores in the survey.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Local shops have done a phenomenal job in adapting their businesses to support their communities during the lockdown. Retailers have introduced social distancing measures to keep customers and colleagues safe on very short notice, and new services like home delivery have ensured that vulnerable people, especially those in rural and isolated areas, can still get essential groceries.

“There are however two sides to the story in our sector. There are thousands of stores that have seen business drop significantly because of where they are, so it’s essential that those businesses take advantage of all of the Government support that is available to them.”