I joined the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) – the trade body that represents small and independent retailers – in Parliament today (27 February 2019) to pledge my support to local shops in rural communities.
At the parliamentary event the ACS demonstrated how important rural shops are for our local economy in Wales. There are 16,944 rural convenience stores in the UK and Wales has a higher proportion of rural shops than any other part of mainland UK.
• 55% of stores are isolated with no other retail business nearby;
• 32% of stores are located on a small parade (with up to five other stores close by); and
• 13% are located on a larger parade or village centre (with more than five other stores close by).
Rural shops bring £271m into the economy and support 139,000 jobs.
I was pleased to lend my support to the Association of Convenience Stores and to learn more about the benefit local shops bring to our rural economies. There are some big challenges facing these retailers and their staff and I hope that I can continue to work with all those organisations working in the retail sector, especially Usdaw – the trade union that represents shopworkers and the Co-Operative Party.
Rural shops are really important to Delyn. We have many villages that depend on them and I will do all I can to support them.
These stores act as vital hubs in rural communities. Allowing people to grab their morning paper, pick up some last-minute shopping for dinner or to use a local Post Office these shops ensure that more isolated communities are not cut off.
Most importantly, rural shops ensure that people can meet and socialise. Most of these shops have a village noticeboard and help people to connect, learn something new or rekindle a hobby. I will continue to do all I can in Parliament for local shops and shopworkers to ensure that they are protected from crime and have the support they need to flourish in a touch economy.