West Lancashire retailer Kevin Hunt hosted a visit from local MP Rosie Cooper at his SPAR store in Ormskirk. The visit was organised by the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) and offered the opportunity for Mr Hunt to raise key issues with his local MP.
This is the latest store visit as part of an ongoing programme by ACS to promote grass roots lobbying by local retailers.
The key issues that were raised with Rosie, who is keen to promote the importance of neighbourhood shops in the local community, were the relaxation of Sunday trading hours, age restricted sales and the upcoming Competition Commission inquiry into the grocery market.
Rosie said: “I was delighted to meet with the owners of a West Lancashire business that is an integral part of the local community and has been for so many years. Convenience stores like Mr Hunts face real challenges over the years ahead. We discussed the potential impact of extending Sunday trading hours, the challenges of competition in small towns and villages as well the impact of national legislative decisions on small businesses, such the minimum wage and energy costs. I look forward to working with convenience stores through the challenges facing them because they are such an important part of community life.”
Mr Hunt said: “Running a convenience store brings with it new challenges every day. I was glad to meet Ms Cooper and I hope it brought her a better understanding of these challenges and of how neighbourhood shopping is changing in today’s market. It is vital that the Government take action to ensure that businesses like mine can continue to provide services, which are essential to the local community, and carry on competing with the major multiples in the market.”
James Lowman, from the Association of Convenience Stores, said: “Visiting our store visits gives MPs first hand experience of what retailers concerns are. Communities would be so much poorer without stores like this, and our role at ACS is to make sure that policy-makers understand the challenges faced by convenience stores. I am pleased that Rosie Cooper MP agreed to arrange this visit, I hope it has been valuable and heightened her awareness of the issues faced by retailers.”