Will Tesco Express join c-store group?

Constitutional change would allow major multiples into ACS

MULTIPLE grocers could soon be allowed membership of the Association of Convenience Stores, if a vote on constitutional changes goes through.

The ACS, which represents independent and convenience stores in England and Wales and has some members in Scotland, is to ask members to vote on changes that would allow any convenience store operators – including those backed by supermarkets, such as Tesco Express or Sainsbury’s Local – to become members.
Scottish Grocer understands the move was prompted by the growth of the Tesco-owned One Stop franchised store operation in England, whose retailers, under current rules, are not allowed membership. One Stop retailers now include symbol store owners who are already long-standing members of the ACS, but chose to switch to the chain.
ACS chairman Jonathan James said: “As the market changes, we have found that our current constitution excludes many potential members, including franchises run by major multiples with independent retailers. The ACS board agreed that these changes are necessary to ensure ACS is a broad-based, inclusive and effective organisation.
“Part of the changes proposed will be for safeguards to ensure that no group of companies can ever dominate ACS or deflect its policy focus away from independent retailers.”
ACS members will vote at an EGM on 4 December.
The Scottish Grocers Federation said it has no plans to follow suit, though there is nothing constitutionally to prevent a similar vote in future.