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15 May 2024

A new report released on behalf of the Retail Sector Council has outlined the work that the industry is doing to create more career opportunities for people that would otherwise be...

14 May 2024

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Worldpay’s 2024 Global Payments Report has revealed a transformative shift where consumer choice is not just influencing but dictating the future of commerce.

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The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has called on grocers to prioritise accurate pricing following a review of the way in-store prices are displayed.

13 May 2024

Independent businesses in Leicester have praised the “uniqueness” of the city and its "vibrant" atmosphere after the news that M&S was set to close drew a...

1 May 2024

Small shops have been more "agile" at fighting COVID sale slumps than chain stores, according to a new report.

29 Apr 2024

A Peterborough store stocking products solely from local entrepreneurs said it is bucking the High Street trend and looking to expand due to its success.

29 Apr 2024

BIRA is giving independent businesses across the UK a powerful new resource with the launch of its “High Street Matters” podcast.

29 Apr 2024

The Guardian has reported independent shopkeepers saying prices they pay at Tesco’s cash-and-carry arm Booker are often higher than in Tesco’s stores.

18 Apr 2024

Independent record stores around the country are preparing to celebrate all things vinyl for this year’s Record Store Day on Saturday April 20th. 

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Study highlights impact of rising staff costs for convenience retailers.

Posted on in Business News

Research by the University of Stirling and the Scottish Grocers’ Federation has shed light on the impact of rising staff costs on the convenience retail sector in Scotland.

Grocery store

On 1 April, the UK National Living Wage rose to £11.44 per hour, a 9.8% increase on 2023/24.

However, a collaboration between SGF and University of Stirling has revealed that the true cost for retail employers will be as much as £15.39 per hour, a jump of £1.39 on the previous year and the highest increase for at least the past eight years.

As reported by Talking Retail, the study considers statutory costs, such as National Insurance and Holiday Pay, as well as additional employment expenses such as uniforms and administration costs.

Meanwhile, a recent survey of SGF members shows that more than 90% of respondents were less likely to hire more staff, due to the wage increases.

Three quarters of owners/managers reported working over 65 hours per week, just to keep costs down.

As a result, additional staff costs will inevitably be passed onto customers, many of whom are also struggling to manage their household budgets.

Professor Leigh Sparks, University of Stirling, said: 

“Convenience and independent retailers find it harder to cope with large increases in the National Living Wage, despite their recognition of the need to reward staff for the jobs they do.

“This is the ninth year that we have looked at the true cost of employment and again we see the pressures on the sector. 

“There does come a point when the cost and management of labour, plus the extreme challenges of actually operating local convenience stores ceases to be viable as a commercial or a lifestyle proposition. If we value the ‘glue’ that local convenience stores provide to communities then we need to show this value to them.”

SGF chief executive, Dr Pete Cheema OBE, added: “Convenience stores are at the very heart of their communities.

“Providing valuable local employment, with flexible hours, but the significant increase to wages year on year means that some stores will need to cut staff hours. Impacting local jobs and overall harming the economy.

“The pressure of absorbing all the additional costs, both external factors and those implemented by government, is putting businesses at risk. Many simply can’t cope.

“Government must start to recognise that local stores are economic drivers and provide many benefits for their communities.

“Without doing more to alleviate the growing pressure on our sector, and accounting for the total cost of employment on top of new regulation, government are damaging the viability of these essential local business.”

The True Cost of Employment 2024 paper will form part of SGF’s annual submission to the Low Pay Commission, for inclusion in its report and recommendations to the Prime Minister later this year.

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