Findings from the Association of Convenience Stores Local Shop Report have revealed that independent shopkeepers are Britain's hardest worker. Most independent retailers work over 50 hours a week and just over half of shopkeepers take fewer than 10 days off a year. Some of the key findings are:
- 60% of shopkeepers work more than 50 hours in an average week, while just 7% work fewer than 30 hours a week
- 51% claim to take less than 10 days off a year while one in five take no holiday at all
- Many local shops are open all year round, even on public holidays like Christmas Day. As many of these stores are small family businesses, there is no option but to work throughout the year
- The hours worked by self-employed retailers are far greater than the legal maximum working week and the minimum holidays required under the Working Time Directive
- According to Office of National Statistics figures for the last quarter, the average working week is between 30 and 40 hours a week
- Those working in agriculture, forestry and fishing work the most hours on average (45) while those in accommodation and food services work the fewest (28)
Adam Stewart, Marketing Director, Rakuten's Play.com, which supports merchants including independent retailers, commented: "The findings from the Association of Convenience Stores show the admirable dedication of independent retailers to their businesses. Working over 50 hours a week with less than 10 days holiday a year is proof of the difficulty small retailers face when trying to compete with superstores and big brands who can afford to stay open for long hours.
"However, the internet never sleeps and with less than 14% of small retailers selling online (according to the European Commission's Digital Agenda) these small businesses are missing a huge opportunity to reduce their hours on the shop floor. An online shop front is always open for business and the infrastructure offered by marketplaces gives independent retailers the chance to branch out without the expensive overheads and risk of setting up a physical shop. Online doesn't have to be the death of the high street; it can open up a new and huge potential customer base and offers another business avenue so that shopkeepers don't have to mind their stores 24/7, 365 days a year."