The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has urged the UK Government to recognise the importance of rural shops and ensure that they are not left playing catch-up when it comes to being able to provide services to their customers.
The 2021 ACS Rural Shop Report has revealed how crucial the UK’s 17,000+ rural shops are to their local communities, with findings from this year’s report showing that throughout 2020, rural consumers have increasingly used their local shop for a wider range of products, and one in five reporting that they depend on their local shop more now than a year ago.
Although the report notes that there are a higher proportion of rural shops in Wales than in any other part of mainland UK, it doesn’t go into further detail about Wales but still does highlight the importance of the circular and foundational economy to our rural communities.
Additional key findings from this year’s report include:
- Rural shops provide local, flexible and secure employment for over 126,000 people
- Rural shops have invested over £197m in their businesses over the last year
- Four out of five (79%) rural shops are actively engaged in their communities, with almost half of rural shops (42%) making donations to a local food bank over the last year
- 21% of rural shops now provide a home delivery service of groceries in their local area