Recently, the ACS launched its 2022 Rural Shop Report, which looks at the vital role rural convenience stores play in the day-to-day lives of their customers, and takes a comprehensive look at the running of these businesses.
The report highlights the economic and social contribution of rural shops, and the unique challenges they face compared with their urban and suburban counterparts.
There are more than 17,000 rural shops in the UK, providing products and services in often isolated areas that are absolutely crucial to keeping their communities going.
Our 2022 report reveals that half of rural stores operate with no other retail or service businesses close by, acting as a lifeline for their customers by providing access to vital services including free-to-use cash machines (48%), local grocery delivery (26%) and post offices (22%).
It’s fantastic to see the positive contribution these stores are making, but we must remember that these businesses face a range of difficulties and pressures that are becoming increasingly problematic, from reduced availability of products and increased prices of everyday items to staffing challenges.
We’ve heard a lot from the government on their ‘levelling up’ agenda, but when you look at this in detail, there is little mention or focus on how this will work in rural areas.
We’re calling on the government to provide targeted support for rural shops and other rural businesses to ensure that the gap between rural stores and the rest of the sector doesn’t widen.
The Rural Shop Report celebrates the work that rural stores do and sends a message to the government to step up the support for these businesses to help them ‘level up’.
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