With what we’re going to be paying with the national living wage by 2020 we’re looking at streamlining the business as much as we can.
We’re going to have to pay all staff £9 an hour, so we’re looking at what’s available in the market.
The winner of this wage hike will be companies like One Stop because there’s no need for a manager. They streamline your whole operation so you’re running on minimal staff. They spend time investing in technology.
We’ve been looking at our EPoS system so it does our ordering automatically. I know there are already quite a lot of retailers that do it, but we’ve always been more of a manual orderer. By investing the time in switching to automatic ordering I can take that manager out of the office and on to the shop floor and reduce my shop floor staff. Our manager spends about six hours a week doing our ordering. I’d like to get that down to three hours, so it’s three hours less of a cashier that I need. It all adds up.
We’ve done some rough figures and, not including any rise in manager wages, just staff wages are going to cost us an extra £30,000 a year. Currently one of our managers is on £10 an hour – I can’t put my staff wages up and have my manager still on £10, so we’ll have to factor that in too.
For small, family-run operations it won’t have an impact, so they’ll be able to keep their prices low and stay competitive. But it will have a huge impact on mid-sized stores that have four or five staff members. You can see those members of staff disappearing.
I think companies like One Stop will benefit from the national living wage. Looking at my next store, I’m looking at it through the eyes of One Stop – they have the ability to run a one-member-of-staff store.
Savvy retailers are going to be looking at this and realising they need to make some changes. I can definitely see employment within the independent convenience sector dropping because of these changes.