As convenience store retailers and suppliers gather in St Andrews for the Scottish Grocers’ Federation (SGF) Annual Conference, figures gathered by SGF reveal complying with the new licensing regulations, due to come into force on the 1st September 2009, has cost the Scottish convenience store industry over £16 million.
2009 heralds the biggest change the convenience store industry has witnessed in a generation when the Licensing (Scotland) 2005 Act comes into effect. In addition to increased licence application fees retailers must now complete a layout and operating plan and ensure staff are appropriately trained in order to be granted a licence to sell alcohol.
Speaking on the first day of the conference, John Drummond, Chief Executive of SGF said,
“When the Scottish Government gave assurances that retailers operating responsible businesses had nothing to fear from the new legislation this obviously did not apply to costs.
“Scotland’s relationship with alcohol is complex and our members are committed to playing their part in changing this culture, however, convenience store retailers, already struggling with the economic downturn, are reeling at the cost of complying with the new licensing regulations.
“With additional alcohol legislation due any day, plans underway to remove the display of tobacco, difficulties accessing credit and record low consumer confidence retailers are reaching crisis point.
“If the Scottish Government wants to avoid job losses and shop closures they must stop legislating against convenience store retailers and work in partnership with us. “
Over 300 delegates made up of convenience store retailers and suppliers will gather at the Fairmont Hotel, St Andrews from 27th February to 1st March for the SGF Annual Conference.
The theme for the conference is Community First! Over the two days delegates will explore the integral role of the local shop within communities throughout Scotland.