Retailers invested record amounts in their businesses over the past three months, despite facing increasing costs in 2017.
During the past quarter, convenience retailers invested almost £300m in their stores, putting the total invested this year at £838m. Investments went ahead even though the Government announced more financial burdens, such as hikes to business rates and an increase in the national living wage, would go ahead next year.
“Retailers are making significant investments in their business to remain competitive, make their stores more energy efficient, and to try and secure their long-term futures,” said ACS chief executive James Lowman.
“With the uncertainty of the rate of inflation, rising food prices and further increases in employment costs on the horizon, store owners are using their own reserves to fund improvements to their stores whilst attempting to make savings in other areas of the business.”
According to ACS research, 72% of independent retailers funded investments from their own reserves. Lowman added that the ACS expected many retailers to take measures to cope with the rising national living wage next year.
“That will mean retailers reducing staff hours, introducing automation where possible, and working more hours themselves,” he said.
A recent report compiled by the Low Pay Commission found that convenience stores are among the businesses hardest hit by the introduction of the national living wage.