More than half of independent retailers are making less than the National Minimum Wage, research has revealed.

According to the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) Voice of Local Shops Survey, 55% of store owners believe that when compared to the number of hours worked, they earn less than the current minimum wage of £6.19 per hour once they have paid their overheads. Over two-thirds also believe they earn less than the current living wage of £7.45 per hour.

In addition, last September’s ACS Local Shop Report revealed that 60% of retailers work more than 50 hours a week while 31% take less than 10 days of holiday a year.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “We already know that retailers are some of the hardest working professionals in the UK, but we didn’t know the shocking extent to which their budgets are squeezed to make ends meet. Rising business rate bills, energy costs and increasing competition from a small format supermarkets are all contributing factors to the figures that we have published today.”

Lowman added that the results showed how committed retailers were to their local communities. “Faced with a tough economic climate, rising costs and competitive pressures retailers are working harder than ever,” he said. “They do it because they love their job and are committed to serving local communities. This is shown by the continued investments they are making in their communities despite the pressure they are under.”