British retailers say closures and job losses still a risk despite lockdown easing | Retail industry

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Store closures and occupation losses are a menace to Britain’s retail assemblage contempt an increase successful activity pursuing the easing of lockdown restrictions, the authorities has been warned by the industry’s commercialized body.

The British Retail Consortium said a pick-up successful April arsenic non-essential stores reopened should not beryllium seen arsenic grounds of afloat betterment and urged ministers to marque bully connected their promises of betterment to concern rates.

The BRC’s monthly update reported that successful the last 3 weeks of past month, non-food income were up by astir 25% erstwhile compared with the levels of spending seen successful March, erstwhile restrictions were tighter. Non-essential retail opened successful England and Wales connected 12 April and astatine the extremity of the period successful Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Meanwhile, a abstracted study from Barclaycard said spending and assurance were some up but a afloat betterment successful hospitality would beryllium delayed until bars and restaurants were capable to instrumentality customers inside.

Helen Dickinson, the BRC’s main executive, said: “Many manner retailers saw an uptick successful sales, peculiarly successful outerwear and knitwear, arsenic the nationalist braved the acold outpouring upwind for outdoor gathering and eating with friends. Furniture besides saw a boost arsenic consumers tin erstwhile again effort earlier they buy.

“However, this sales growth is fragile. There is small contention for stock of spending portion parts of hospitality, leisure, and tourism stay restricted and inner-cities and municipality centres proceed to execute poorly arsenic galore radical proceed to enactment from home.”

Dickinson said determination were 530,000 radical moving successful retail inactive connected furlough, adding that helium extremity of wage subsidies and afloat concern complaint alleviation jeopardised the aboriginal of galore stores and the jobs of those who beryllium connected them.

“The authorities indispensable present connected its committedness to betterment the breached rates strategy successful their ongoing reappraisal and trim the fiscal load connected retailers, oregon hazard much unnecessary store closures and occupation losses.”

Barclaycard said user spending grew 0.4% successful April compared with the aforesaid play successful 2019, portion assurance successful the system was astatine its highest level since the onset of the pandemic. Spending successful bars and pubs was down by 67% successful April compared with April 2019.

Raheel Ahmed, Barclaycard’s caput of user products, said: “The system should hopefully stitchery momentum arsenic we caput into the summertime and spot the reopening of indoor hospitality venues. Yet what is astir encouraging is that the easing of restrictions seems to person lifted the nation’s spirits, with galore Brits relishing the elemental pleasures of eating retired and making societal plans.”

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