More than 400 corner shops have closed down in the last two years, and trade is down by more than 15% for those still in business, according to the chief executive of the Convenience Stores and Newsagents Association.
Vincent Jennings said shop owners are facing a huge uphill battle to keep their open signs up. He warned the recession is taking its toll, with the Government, banks, and wholesalers heaping more pressure on shopkeepers.
“Banks are withdrawing overdraft and loan facilities, leaving some shop owners unable to weather the economic storm,” he said.
“Suppliers are increasing their wholesale prices, which the retailer cannot pass on to hard-pressed customers.”
Family-run and local shops are also facing the increasing threat of anti-social behaviour and an increase in shoplifting and hold-ups, Mr Jennings claimed.
“Our customers value the convenience of shopping in well-appointed stores open at times and in locations that suit them,” he said.
“But the actions of the Government, banks, and wholesalers make it very hard for our members to survive without compromising on the value and service the shopper wants.”
Accountants and business advisers are meeting shop owners on a daily basis trying to work out business survival plans, he added.
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