High street

A new report has found that convenience stores, pharmacies and post offices are the services that have the most positive impact in local communities.

The 2021 Community Barometer report, published today by the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS), looks at how people feel about the services available to them locally, and the impact they have on key measures like reducing loneliness and increasing community wellbeing.

People could choose from 16 services, which included restaurants, pubs and bars, pharmacies, specialist food shops, coffee shops and non-food stores.

When asked which services were the most essential to have locally, pharmacies came out on top, followed by convenience stores, post offices, banks and petrol stations.

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ACS chief executive, James Lowman, said: “It’s reassuring but not surprising local shops and other services are as essential to people’s daily lives as ever.

“Throughout the pandemic, and even now, with more people working from home on a long-term basis, many have rediscovered their local shops and realised the huge breadth of products and services that they offer, as well as their invaluable contribution to the wider local community.

“The findings of this report are a testament to the work that convenience store retailers and their colleagues have put in over the last year to keep their communities going.”

This year’s report also looked at services which have a positive impact on local house prices, with the top five services having the most positive impact being post offices, pharmacies, specialist food shops and coffee shops, with convenience stores placing fifth.

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Amanda Jones, Post Office retail and franchise network director, said: “So many people have been impacted by the pandemic and we’re aware of the important role Post Offices play in helping to combat loneliness in particular. We’re proud of postmasters who serve millions of customers ever week.

“For some people this may be their only face-to-face interaction with another person. postmasters will continue to be at the heart of their local community making sure people have access to important services.”  

The full ACS Community Barometer report is available here

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