The convenience sector is worth £, up 5% in 2015, and employs almost half a million people.

The Local Shop Report 2015, released by the ACS today

, revealed that there are now 51,524 convenience stores in mainland UK. The growth in the industry and shift in shopping behaviour is a result of retailers being some of the hardest working people in the country – with a quarter of shop owners working more than 70 hours per week, the research found.

The ACS praised the dedication of convenience retailers, particularly independents, but also encouraged them to use technology to cut their extremely long hours.

“Retailers need to work smarter, not longer” said James Lowman, chief executive of the ACS, at the report launch.

ACS chief executive James Lowman urged retailers to use technology to ease their workload

Andrew King, franchise director for One Stop and Local Shop Report panel member, confirmed that he too recognised the unnecessary difficult work ethic of some retailers.

“Too many independents work too long hours,” he said.

Referring to the “astonishing” findings that half of retailers still do not have an EPoS system, Lowman added: “With the burden of competition and potential increasing staff costs, retailers need to use the technology available to them to help their workload.”

Lowman said some retailers might not feel the need to invest in an EPoS system because they feel they know what their customers are buying. But Shaun Marwaha, an eight-store strong retailer and founder of the Scotfresh fascia, said he recognised the difference when he installed EPoS.

“It’s protection,” he said. “It’s such a rich piece of data. We know exactly what we’re doing right and wrong.”

Check back for more important details from the ACS Local Shop Report.