Retailers have a more positive outlook and feel safer a year on from the riots in England that ripped apart many high streets and caused millions of pounds worth of damage to stores.

Almost two-fifths (39%) of retailers surveyed by the Association of Convenience Stores said they would describe their community as safer than a year ago whereas just 22% felt less safe.

Forty-two per cent said the riots and the aftermath had brought their community together and that it was more united, compared with 14% who believed the trouble had had a divisive impact.

“A year ago, retailers shared fear and miscomprehension about the violence inflicted on shops in cities across the country,” said ACS chief executive James Lowman. “Very quickly they were heartened by the way communities came together to repair damage and rebuild community spirit that could have been destroyed.”

The survey also revealed that the violence had encouraged retailers to become more engaged in community projects and to work more closely with the police, said Lowman. Half the retailers said they were now working with police and two-thirds with community support officers.

Seventy per cent said they were now involved in community initiatives such as collecting money for charity, supporting community events or providing sponsorship for local sports teams.

“These insights suggest that it is the aftermath, rather than the riots themselves, that has had the more telling impact on local shop owners,” added Lowman.

“It is also heartening to see that retailers are more engaged with local police and that more retailers than ever before are engaged in structured community events.”

The three nights of civil unrest last August are understood to have cost the UK taxpayer more than £300m.