Seven out of 10 consumers would prefer to see investment in their local neighbourhood, compared to just three out of 10 who would prefer investment in their nearest town or city centre, revealed new polling from the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS).
The polling, commissioned as part of ACS’ 2022 Community Barometer report, also revealed that support for existing local businesses would be the top investment priority for consumers, followed by better community policing, and support for new businesses locally.
What’s more, convenience stores were the service deemed to have the most positive impact locally, and were also rated as one of the most essential services in the local area, second only to pharmacies, out of 16 different local services, including post offices, banks and pubs.
Government policy around levelling up and supporting businesses has long been focused on high streets and town and city centres. This new polling shows that while larger centres are important, the Government must not forget the parades, villages and rural hubs that also need investment to thrive, claimed the ACS.
With more people working from home at least two or three days a week after the pandemic, the ACS stated that consumers had placed a renewed importance on the community value of businesses like convenience stores, pharmacies, coffee shops and post offices within 10-15 minutes’ walk of their house.
ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Our Community Barometer polling clearly shows that people want safe local neighbourhoods with vibrant established businesses and innovative new services. This should shape the Government’s priorities as it takes forward its levelling up agenda. The services in our communities, including local shops, need more support and incentives to invest.”
“Local shops are embedded in communities across the UK and are committed to providing their customers with access to essential products and services whilst acting as a social hub for those who may be more isolated or vulnerable. It is unsurprising that they have consistently ranked in the top three services that are essential to people’s lives and have a positive impact on the local area.”
The full findings and more information about this year’s Community Barometer is available here.