Local shop owners have been praised as some of the country’s “hardest working people” after research showed 49 per cent did not have a day off last year.
Around 16,000 owners worked every day, more than doubling in the space of a year.
According to an Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) report, retailers shouldered extra hours to keep their businesses going throughout lockdowns, staff shortages and supply chain issues.
With restaurants and cafés closed and shortages at major supermarkets, convenience stores were an important source of food during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“This last year has been hugely challenging for convenience stores, who have been open through every local and national lockdown,” ACS head James Lowman said.
“The people running and working in convenience stores are some of the hardest working people in the UK and are absolutely crucial to their communities.
“With more people working from home or hybrid working, there is more of a reliance than ever on the local shop to provide essential groceries.”
The report also showed more than one in 10 shop owners worked more than 70 hours a week.
Convenience store staff worked a combined 9.6 million hours last year, with almost a fifth on 40 hours a week.
Costcutter Epsom owner Sue Nithyanandan said that, with staff quarantining or afraid to come into work, she had been forced to cover absences herself.
“The responsibility fell on me to ensure everyone’s wellbeing and to keep theirs and our financial security,” she told The Grocer.
“I’m just waiting for that day when life will pretty much get back to normal and we can take time away from the business.”