Welsh retailers have invested £48m into their stores over the past year, according to the Association of Convenience Stores’ (ACS) Welsh Local Shop Report 2024. 

It comes after the Welsh Government announced a new £20m ‘Future Proofing Fund’ for businesses in retail, hospitality and leisure worth between £5,000 and £10,000 to spend on energy efficiency improvement.

The report highlighted the economic contribution of the convenience sector in Wales, revealing total sales of over £2.9bn and the creation of over 28,000 jobs. 

The ACS has “praised the work that local shops in Wales do in their communities”, with 87% of independent retailers in Wales engaged in some form of community activity over the last year, the report revealed.

Other key findings found that 88% of stores now accept contactless payment. 

ACS chief executive James Lowman explained that local shops in Wales are essential job creators, providing local, flexible and secure employment for over 28,000 people across the country: ”Despite ongoing challenges for all businesses in recruiting and retaining colleagues, the convenience sector remains established as a long term, secure career path.

“Wales’ 3,000+ convenience stores remain well placed to support their customers through a diverse range of products and services, helping consumers manage their money and making a really positive impact in the communities that they trade in. We believe that the Welsh Local Shop Report sends a clear message about the continued importance of convenience stores.

“After the energy price shocks of the last year, we strongly welcome the announcement of new grant funding for local shops and other businesses to be able to make their businesses more sustainable and energy efficient in the future.”