LOCAL retailers in Britain are increasingly optimistic, despite many experiencing a tough sales environment and new costs.
The most recent Association of Convenience Stores’ Voice of Local Shops quarterly survey of more than 1200 retailers found that retailer optimism had grown for the second quarter in a row,
That occurred despite the survey finding that the number of retailers reporting poor sales meant that the survey’s measure of retailer sentiment on sales performance hit a two-year low.
Nevertheless there was also an increase in the number of respondents who said they plan to invest in their stores, with almost one in five retailers saying they planned to refurbish or improve their outlets in some way.
The survey also found that more than eight in 10 retailers took part in community activity. And there was, said ACS, “a welcome ongoing increase in the number of stores reporting no incidents of shop theft”.
ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Optimism fell dramatically after last July’s Budget but it is now rebuilding steadily.”
While some developments south of the border, including continuing restrictions on large-store Sunday opening has been welcome, the responses on sales performance show the retail environment remains tough and the introduction of the National Living Wage will hit local shops hard, he said.