A lack of surprise and concerns over main policies dominated retailer reaction to Labour winning the General Election 2024.

Raaj Chandarana of Tara’s Londis in High Wycombe said the result wasn’t surprising but questioned some of Labour’s plans.

“One of their policies is to level the playing field with minimum with living wage. So if you’re 18 years old, you’re going to be earning the same as someone on 22, and that’s going to affect a lot of the retail businesses.

Raaj also had MP Emma Reynolds visit the store in the run-up to the election but didn’t feel that she answered all of his questions clearly.

“If you look at someone like Tesco, they look to employ a lot of 18–19-year-olds because it’s cheaper. So, what’s going to happen is we’ll see an increase in price. When I had my MP down and we had a chat, I asked ‘so what are you going to do to counter that?’ or support convenience stores on this, she literally didn’t have an answer.”

He also expressed concern about vaping legislation. “I think the vaping is another area of concern for me. I worry they’ll make changes to anything nicotine related but they won’t really think it through and put the infrastructure behind it. For example, if you have to recycle vapes, is there the communication in advance to us and is the infrastructure there?”

Sue Nithyanandan of Costcutter Espom said she hoped the election result would bring back the “feel good factor”.

“The election result wasn’t a surprise as the mood of the country was for change. I hope that after the pandemic, recession and wars that are still going on, I am hoping for the “feel good factor” to return and an era of optimism to return.”

Sue added that she hopes Labour would generate more jobs but that not much will change in the short term. “My hope for the new government is to encourage and create growth and jobs and make work attractive and affordable for all. The state should take responsibility for this and not expect businesses to carry a bigger share of the burden by increasing ULW but make taxation less punitive.

“Nothing will change in the short term, but hopefully the right policies and the new opportunities that the Labour government will bring to businesses to tackle retail. Especially crime by increasing the police numbers is something we as a business are looking forward to.”

Ian Lewis of Spar Minster Lovell in Oxfordshire explained that it was widely expected that Labour party would gain power.

“I’m not sure we knew just how much of a landslide it was going to be. From what I’ve been watching they understand that the vote has been for change not for Labour, so now they need to earn their spurs…which is all fair enough. 

“I think like everyone, we want change and want them to stick to their promises,” he said.

Ian believes the change won’t have a negative impact on the sector, but he is hopeful that retail crime can be given priority, as that’s where the sector currently needs the most support.

Meanwhile, One Stop retailer Priyesh Vekaria said the result did not come as a surprise and hoped to see “continued support for the convenience industry” that would help drive growth.

Focusing on what independent retailers do best, Surjeet Notay took to social media to remind customers that whoever is in power, convenience stores will be there for them.