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Rural shops more important than ever, new report shows.

8 Feb 2024

The ACS (the Association of Convenience Stores) has celebrated the crucial role that rural shops play in thousands of communities across the UK in its 2024 Rural Shop Report.
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Study reveals Apple Pay and contactless payments have overtaken cash payments as favourite ways to pay in-store.

8 Feb 2024

New research reveals that Apple Pay and contactless payments have overtaken cash payments by a landslide as our favourite ways to pay in-store.
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Fed expresses alarm at ‘runaway’ shoplifting incidents.

5 Feb 2024

The Federation of Independent Retailers (the Fed) has expressed alarm at new figures that show shoplifting at its highest level in 20 years.
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Hunstanton deli launches new West Norfolk food and drink festival.

5 Feb 2024

A brand-new festival is being launched next month is “all about community and breathing life into the High Street”, according to Mark Kacary, managing director of The Norfolk Deli in... Read more…

Retailers react to disposable vape ban.

5 Feb 2024

The retail sector has been responding to government plans to ban disposable vapes as part of plans to tackle the rise in youth vaping.
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UK’s indie food retailers to be recognised in the Farm Shop and Deli Retailer Awards 2024.

23 Jan 2024

Bakers, butchers, cheesemongers, delicatessens, fishmongers, greengrocers, village stores and small farm shops from around the UK have been shortlisted in the Farm Shop and Deli Retailer Awards... Read more…

How Independent Retailers Can Stand Out in A Crowded Market

23 Jan 2024

An interesting article has appeared in Forbes reflecting many of the issues that Indie Retail & ActSmart members will be experiencing – the challenges and... Read more…

Eight in Ten Small Businesses Taking Positive Steps to Strengthen Their Enterprises in 2024

22 Jan 2024

Eight in ten small business owners (81%) are planning to develop their companies in 2024, according to new research from Novuna Business Finance. The research shows that over a third (33%) are... Read more…

The Times names 12 of the UK’s best independent bookshops — as chosen by its readers.

22 Jan 2024

The Times has named 12 of the UK’s best independent bookshops — as chosen by its readers. Readers highlighted places that combined books with a friendly and welcoming atmosphere.... Read more…

Bira Launches Second Annual Campaign for Valentine's Day - #LoveYourHighStreet

22 Jan 2024

The British Independent Retailers Association is championing the high street again this Valentine's Day for the second consecutive year with its #LoveYourHighStreet campaign.
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Rural shops more important than ever, new report shows.

Posted on in Business News

The ACS (the Association of Convenience Stores) has celebrated the crucial role that rural shops play in thousands of communities across the UK in its 2024 Rural Shop Report.

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The report outlines the difference that the UK’s 17,986 rural shops make as secure local employers, as entrepreneurs investing and working with local businesses, and as essential service providers.

Key findings include:

  1. Rural shops employ over 170,000 people, the majority of which live very close and can walk to work.
  2. Rural consumers see convenience stores as the most essential service in their local area.
  3. Independent retailers in rural areas are at the heart of their community, with more than 4 in 5 engaging a range of different community activities over the past year.
  4. Rural shops generated £17.1bn in sales and over £3.8bn in GVA over the last year. 

The Rural Shop Report highlights the work that convenience retailers are doing to provide essential goods and services to their communities, but there are significant challenges facing stores trading in rural and isolated areas.

As part of the launch, ACS is engaging with MPs on the actions that government can take to support rural shops and ensure that there’s a level playing field between rural businesses and their more urban counterparts.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Rural shops make a huge difference locally, as a social hub, a stable employer, and a provider of essential services that would otherwise not be available at all.

“We are calling on MPs to help rural retailers in the battle against shop theft and abuse, to enable stores to continue providing access to cash for customers, and to level up the digital infrastructure that connects rural shops so that they can invest in modernising their businesses.”

Rural Services Network chief executive Kerry Booth said: “We are delighted at the Rural Services Network to be supporting the launch of the Rural Shop Report.

“Rural shops play a critical role at the heart of our rural communities helping to reduce isolation and loneliness, and enabling residents to benefit from services that, due to poor connectivity or lack of transport links, they would be otherwise unable to access.”

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