Convenience store retailers are continuing to realise the value of meaningful community engagement in the tough trading climate.

Despite a squeeze on sales, 80% of store owners are involved in their community in some way, with 71% collecting for a local or national charity and 25% providing sponsorship for local schools and sports teams, the Association of Convenience Stores’ (ACS) latest Voice of Local Shops Survey revealed.

The survey of more than 1,100 independent retailers from across the country, also highlighted some stark regional variations, with 86% of independent retailers in the South West and Wales having undertaken some form of community engagement activity in the past year, compared to 60% of London retailers.

However, the survey also showed that almost 50% of retailers had reported a drop in sales when comparing the past three months to the same period last year.

A further 15% claimed their sales had increased. Over the past year, 51% reported a fall in cash profit and 14% reported an increase.

“Convenience stores are under increasing pressure from multiple chains to find a unique selling point that separates them from the competition,” ACS chief executive James Lowman said. “Many independent retailers have capitalized on the essential role they play in their communities.

“Being part of the community is one of the main reasons independent retailers love what they do,” he added.

The survey findings agree with the results of Convenience Store’s 2013 Product Survey, which revealed that 11% of retailers were now marketing their stores by sponsoring local events, up from 3% in 2012.

Allied Bakeries is offering retailers the chance to win £2,000 worth of funding to put towards a community event in an exclusive competition for retail readers of See here for more details.