The 23% decline in the number of Asian run shops in the last decade recorded in a report on CTN closures is an underestimate, according to a government advisor on small shops. Ram Gidoomal, who chaired the government's Better Regulation Task Force report into small shops, said: "Many sites counted as still trading have been converted into pound shops or children's clothing shops." The study, from Professor David McEvoy of Liverpool's John Moores University, says the number of CTNs owned by people of Indian, Pakistani or Bangladeshi origin fell from about 15,000 to 11-12,000. Gidoomal said: "The local shop offers a stepping stone to refugee immigrants, but cannot provide the margins to entice the second generation to keep the business on." But he added that Kosovan, Afghan and Somali refugees have been filling the void. Gidoomal said these trends are a good opportunity for fmcg companies to recruit employees with "practical grassroots experience in maintaining the family business." {{NEWS }}