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What’s in store for MPs on tour: retailers have the answer

High Street
By Joanna Kent
02 July 2024
Consumer Industries
Consumer Campaigns & B2B
general election 2024

As MPs across the nation descend on their local communities to ramp up support for their party manifestos in the lead up to the General Election, independent businesses have a great opportunity to have their views heard. With the retail sector rocked in recent years by ever-increasing costs and crime rates at an all-time high, this is a key moment for retailers and local business owners to engage with their parliamentary candidates and ensure those operating at the heart of the community are listened to.

In and amongst the visits to garden centres and schools, MPs will also be looking to visit local retailers to showcase how they will be supporting businesses in the area to help secure their votes. Whether an independent store, restaurant or pub, engaging with local candidates will allow owners to build relationships with their MPs and ensure they truly understand what businesses in the local area need from the next government.

With over 49,000 convenience stores in the UK, retailers trade in more communities than any other type of shop or service and are ranked as one of the services that have the most positive impact, employing 437,000 people across the UK and generating over £47bn in sales over the last year. These stores are the beating heart of the communities they serve and understand what issues matter most so are very well placed to be the voice of their local constituency and hold candidates to account on the key issues facing their areas.

To help retailers harness the opportunity this election road tour presents, the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has launched an election guide with hints and tips on how to run a store visit with parliamentary candidates during the General Election campaign.

The helpful guide provided by the ACS outlines everything retailers need to know on how to effectively approach local candidates to maximise the opportunities available. With a handy emailing tool on its Election Centre website, retailers can contact their parliamentary candidates to invite them for a store visit. And with guidance on what to do with them in store – including ensuring they’re offered a good ole cuppa - and what questions to ask, retailers can be well equipped to tackle the local issues that matter most. There’s even advice on how to promote the visit, and their store, via social media posts, with top tips on how to capture that all important photo.

Across the nation, many retailers and other local businesses provide vital services to their customers and know what issues need tackled. By proactively engaging with local candidates, business owners have the chance to have their voices heard and build important relationships with their future MP, an opportunity that shouldn’t be missed.