Skip navigation

Gloucestershire Business News

One in five high street stores may never reopen

A fifth of high street stores plan to stay closed permanently after the coronavirus lockdown ends. That's the stark warning from retail leaders to MPs.

Andrew Goodacre, chief executive of British Independent Retailers Association (Bira), told MPs on the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee that the coronavirus crisis had been the worst time ever for retail in the UK, as reported by Retail Gazette.

He said 20 per cent of retailers surveyed by Bira don't intend to reopen after lockdown restrictions are relaxed. And even for those planning to reopen, there are concerns about the level of trade while social distancing measures continue. If customers continue to stay away and social distancing is kept in place, he told MPs that some retailers may find it more expensive to open their stores than to stay closed.

Non-essential retailers have now been closed for almost six weeks.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, told MPs that 69 per cent of non-food retailers have been hit hard by the virus. She warned that demand will very slowly gear up to what it was before the lockdown, with customers cautious about safely while shopping and also concerned about spending money.

She called on the government to continue to offer tapered support to retailers over a longer period of time, as customer demand slowly gets back to normal.

Support measures for retailers announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak include a one-year business rates holiday, the job retention scheme, VAT payment deferrals, and business interruption loans.

But Bira said only 20 per cent of its members have applied for business interruption loans because they don't see debt as the answer.

Related Articles

Coronavirus LIVE Updates: The latest news from across Gloucestershire on Friday, May 29 Image

Coronavirus LIVE Updates: The latest news from across Gloucestershire on Friday, May 29

The latest important news and updates from across Gloucestershire as the coronavirus crisis continues.

Planning for Recovery: What’s next? Wednesday, June 3 10-11am Image

Planning for Recovery: What’s next? Wednesday, June 3 10-11am

Business support company Ops-Box Group has teamed up with Hughes Paddison and Harper Sheldon for an online presentation and Q&A session offering expert advice on how businesses can emerge from the coronavirus crisis.

Alex Chalk: Cheltenham MP faces questions from business Image

Alex Chalk: Cheltenham MP faces questions from business

Cheltenham MP Alex Chalk told an online Q&A session a new-look high street, greener transport and major infrastructure investment can shape a buoyant post-coronavirus town.

Chancellor unveils details of furlough scheme changes Image

Chancellor unveils details of furlough scheme changes

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has unveiled how the Government’s furlough scheme will be tapered off as the coronavirus restrictions are relaxed.

Copyright 2020 Moose Partnership Ltd. All rights reserved. Reproduction of any content is strictly forbidden without prior permission.