Convenience sector at risk amid energy crisis
The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has raised concerns over store closures if local shops do not receive long-term financial support amid rising energy costs.
While convenience stores will receive financial aid for six months under the Energy Bill Relief Scheme, the ACS has urged the government to extend the scheme until “at least April 2024” to reduce the likelihood of store closures.
The scheme, which has set a wholesale price at 21.1p per kWh for electricity and 7.5p per kWh for gas, will be available to businesses that renewed their contracts after December 1, 2021. However, the ACS said convenience stores will see prices exceed 90p per kWh from April 2023 when the current supported wholesale price expires.
The ACS estimates that the average bill per store will be around £88,000 without energy support.
ACS chief executive James Lowman emphasised the need to extend the scheme, adding: “The case for supporting convenience stores is clear, we provide over 405,000 jobs at store level across the UK, we are the business type that has the most positive impact locally, and we provide an unparalleled range of products and services on people’s doorsteps.”