Retailers have until 4 May to respond to the Association of Convenience Stores’ (ACS) 2018 National Living Wage survey, as part of the lobby group’s evidence-gathering process for a submission to the Low Pay Commission.

The commission is an independent body that advises the government about the National Living Wage and the National Minimum Wage.

The LPC will hold a consultation later this year to discuss what the rates for the National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage should be from April 2019.

The consultation will also consider the impact of a potential premium on top of existing wage rates, which would apply to working hours not guaranteed by an employment contract. The premium has been recommended by the Taylor Review into Modern Employment Practices.

The ACS survey asks retailers about how they have responded to the National Living Wage and how increases in wage rates may impact their business in the future.

Nigel Dowdney, owner of Earlham Shopper in Norfolk, has been put off doing a big store refit because this year’s NLW rise has put a strain on his finances.

He said: “It’s very tight at the moment with wages and business rates going up. Unfortunately, small businesses don’t have a bottomless pit of money that they can dig into.

“It’s difficult for everyone to balance wanting to move forward against increasing wage costs that are much higher than inflation.”

Mo Razzaq, owner of Family Shopper in Blantyre, Glasgow, believes the NLW has changed how he recruits new staff.

“It used to be the case that you could think carefully about which local people you employ but that is not the case any more,” he said.

“Over the last few years, the increases have forced retailers to give jobs to younger people to make savings.”

Retailers have until May 4 to respond to the survey which is available to complete here.