February 12, 2020
As the convenience channel approaches the latest round of regulation – in the form of the ban on menthol cigarettes on 20 May – there is a lot of support available to help retailers safeguard their businesses. Among the most important might be the Association of Convenience Stores’ assured advice.
What is assured advice? It is a way of retailers protecting themselves from inconsistent trading standards departments which could, in one city, come down hard on retailers who get it wrong on the menthol ban or other regulation and elsewhere only offer a warning or training.
This system provides retailers with a fairer playing field in comparison to the multiples. Tesco, for example, has Hertfordshire Trading Standards as its Primary Authority, meaning all in-store issues nationwide are treated by one single department. Likewise, Sainsbury works with Oxfordshire Country Council and, outside of grocery, Primark manages trading standards issues with Reading Borough Council. You can see a full register here.
Those retailers which sign up with the ACS Assured Advice system can similarly gain access from consistent advice, wherever they are in the UK. In this case, by working with the ACS on being compliant for the menthol ban, stores will be working with Surrey District Council.
ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Assured Advice allows retailers to get on with running their business instead of worrying about intervention from local enforcement officers. In the last few months alone we’ve provided important clarifications on areas like the upcoming menthol ban, ways to provide water refills, requirements under the new fuel labelling regulations, and the sale of CBD products. This the most comprehensive assured advice scheme available anywhere for convenience retailers, and it’s free to ACS members.”