Since early April this year, retailers have been coming to terms with one of the most significant cost increases in their businesses in recent memory.

The introduction of the national living wage at £7.20 an hour for workers aged 25 and over, announced without consultation in the 2015 Budget, has left many wondering what savings they’ll have to make in other parts of their business to absorb the cost.

Our most recent research on the sector suggests that retailers are already feeling the impact of the national living wage.

We survey more than 1,200 retailers every quarter, and while the latest results tell us that optimism around sales for the future is on the rise, optimism around staff hours has fallen, coupled with a fall in the percentage of retailers who say that they’re planning to invest in their business in the coming year.

Talking about the problems faced by retailers as a result of wage rises is not easy. The perception among the public and many of our decision makers is that that staff in all sectors should be paid more.

Our most recent research on the sector suggests that retailers are already feeling the impact of the national living wage

The Chancellor’s ambition is to raise the minimum wage to more than £9 an hour by 2020.

If realised, this will eat into the already narrow profit margins of many and could have dire consequences for the small business sector, including the ultimate closure of a number of businesses.

We are in the process of making our case to the Low Pay Commission about the impact of the national living wage, but we need your help.The voice of retailers dealing with the national living wage must be heard.

Our national living wage survey takes just a few minutes to complete, with your responses playing a crucial role in the evidence base that we present to the Commissioners who will ultimately make a recommendation on the future rates of both the living wage and the national minimum wage.

You can take the survey on our website (acs.org.uk), and if you want to get involved further, we encourage you to write to your MP and explain the impact that the national living wage is having on your business.