The 2023 Scottish National Party leadership election is now underway and will ultimately decide who our next first minister will be.
The leader will be declared, we expect, on 27 March. Some may ask, what is your point?
The point is that retailers are being confronted with a ‘perfect storm’ of challenges.
For the avoidance of doubt, they are dealing with the scenario that shopper footfall has yet to reach pre-pandemic levels and retail sales are subdued given the cost-of-living crisis for consumers.
Spending power, therefore, has been diluted and shopper missions focus on key essentials.
In addition, convenience retailers are having to contend with their own pressures, such as soaring business energy costs, rising inflation, supply-chain disruption and the pending significant rise in staff costs, at 9.7%, through the national living wage.
These concerns are all too real – business survival itself is coming into focus for many, not to mention the strain it puts on retailers’ mental health.
OPINION: We need to come together to battle rising energy costs – James Lowman, chief executive, ACS
Let’s be clear, the convenience sector has shown its value, none more so than supporting communities through the Covid-19 pandemic.
The national economic recovery is of crucial importance to the government, and if our sector is to continue to generate its vital local multiplier effect that it offers communities up and down Scotland, it needs support now.
A place to start would be ensuring there is a joined-up and sequential approach to all the legislation that issues from the Scottish government.
Whoever crosses the winning line at the end of March must recognise these challenges and take urgent action to support our sector.
Read more of our expert opinion on the independent retail sector
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