Rural shops investing heavily in new services for local customers, ACS reports 

The UK’s rural shops have invested over £315m over the last year, introducing services like contactless payment, in-store bakeries and Post Office counters to meet the needs of customers in rural areas.

The 2018 Rural Shop Report, released today by the Association of Convenience Stores, highlights the role that rural shops play at the very heart of communities across the UK. The report shows that rural shops are often the only place where customers in their local area can shop, as more than half of rural stores (57%) operate entirely on their own, with no other retail/service businesses close by.

Key findings from the 2018 Rural Shop Report include:

  • There are 19,164 rural shops in the UK, making up over a third of the whole convenience sector
  • Rural shops employ over 143,000 people in the UK
  • Over the last year, rural shops have invested over £315m in improving and maintaining their businesses

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Rural shops have to deal with many of the same issues as other stores such as rising employment costs and crime, but also face unique challenges when compared to their more urban counterparts. Sub-standard broadband and mobile connection speeds and a lack of effective business rates relief remain serious concerns for rural stores who are keen to invest in their businesses, offer more services, and use new technology to provide the service their customers need.

“Rural shops are crucial to the UK economy and to the often isolated communities that they serve, and we encourage Government to continue looking at ways to support these businesses and encourage retailers to invest.”

The full report can be found on the ACS website at