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03.04

Free membership deal to help independent retailers through Covid-19

Bira is offering a free membership package to help businesses through the Covid-19 crisis. Independent retailers who sign up for the Coronavirus Membership Package can gain complimentary access to Bira member benefits for three months, in return for a nominal donation of £1, £5 or £10 to the Rainy Day Trust. The deal, available until […]

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02.04

Bira welcomes Government pledge to pressure banks into making Covid-19 cash accessible

The Government’s pledge to pressure the banks to ease up lending to small businesses has been welcomed by Bira.  Last night (April 1), Business Secretary Alok Sharma called on high street lenders to ease access to the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans Scheme (CBILS) for small independent retailers during the crisis. His intervention comes following reports […]

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01.04

Scottish politicians ‘moving proverbial goalposts’ in allocation off Covid-19 grants, says Bira

The Scottish Government is ‘moving proverbial goalposts’ in allocation of the coronavirus support grants, says Bira. Bira has added its voice to a growing number of trade groups lobbying Scottish parliament over restrictions to the pledged £25,000 grants. The trade groups, which includes the Scottish Retail Consortium, has written to Finance Secretary Kate Forbes MSP […]

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31.03

Members’ survey: ‘Banks are failing independent retailers in Covid-19 crisis’

High street banks are failing to support small independent retailers in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis, a new members’ survey by the Bira has revealed. Bira asked its members three key questions about the support they’ve received following the outbreak of coronavirus – and the results show a large majority are getting little or no […]

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25.03

More must be done to support independent retailers through Covid-19 crisis, says Bira

Bira is stepping up its efforts to get the best deal for its members during the coronavirus crisis. Bira has already successfully lobbied for extra support for independent retailers following the outbreak of Covid-19. However, CEO Andrew Goodacre says more must be done to protect businesses from collapse. Some of the measures Bira would like […]

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25.03

New coronavirus hub launched

Bira has launched a dedicated coronavirus hub to guide members and the wider retail community through the crisis. The online resource is a one-stop shop featuring a wealth of information and advice. It is being updated every day, throughout the day. Information on the hub includes: The list of businesses still allowed to trade, and […]

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23.03

Support needed for independent retailers forced to shut in UK-lockdown, says Bira

Bira is calling for immediate access to financial support for the small business owners effected by the Government-imposed lock-down of the country. Andrew Goodacre, Bira’s CEO, said small independent retailers affected by the new shut-down measures need ‘details and transparency’ when it comes to accessing the support available to them. Tonight (Monday, March 23), Boris […]

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20.03

Bira calls for ‘speed and simplicity’ in claiming latest coronavirus crisis support

The Government’s latest raft of emergency measures to save jobs and businesses amidst the coronavirus crisis is being backed by Bira. Andrew Goodacre, Bira’s CEO, has called for “speed and simplicity” in how these financial support packages are made available. Tonight (Friday, March 20), Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak announced a new scheme of […]

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18.03

Bira welcomes temporary abolition of business rates in Scotland

The Scottish Government’s move to temporarily abolish business rates in a bid to minimise the impact of coronavirus has been welcomed by Bira. Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop MSP has unveiled a new economic package to the Holyrood Parliament in response to coronavirus, including 12 months of full relief from business rates for retailers and hospitality. The move […]

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18.03

New emergency funds welcomed – but must be available immediately

The Government’s £350 billion bailout of the UK economy in response to coronavirus has been welcomed by Bira. However, CEO Andrew Goodacre says the funds must be made available immediately to stop the collapse of many small independent retailers already seeing reduced trade. Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak announced the enhanced packaged of emergency […]

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17.03

Bira welcomes move to support small businesses in Wales through coronavirus

Bira has welcomed a move to support small businesses in Wales through the coronavirus crisis. The Welsh Government has announced it will temporarily reduce – or abolish – rates for some small businesses in a move worth £200m to help limit the impact of COVID-19 on small businesses. Shops, leisure and hospitality businesses in Wales […]

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13.03

Bira calls for uniform rates relief across the UK

Bira is calling for uniform rates relief across the UK in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. As part of the spring Budget, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak took the exceptional measure of abolishing business rates for one year for retailers and cafe owners in England with a rateable value of below £51,000. However, […]

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06.03

Bira’s five-point plan to Save Our Shops (SOS)

A five-point plan to Save Our Shops (SOS) has been issued by Bira. It’s the key feature of Bira’s forthcoming manifesto which focuses on what can be done to better support independent retail businesses and minimise the burden on them. Bira is asking for the following: Urgent business rates reform – the current system is outdated […]

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05.03

Call for emergency business fund to support coronavirus-hit independent retailers

Bira is calling for the Treasury to set up an emergency business fund to help those affected by coronavirus. The plea comes as part of Bira’s statement to Chancellor Rishi Sunak ahead of next Wednesday’s Budget. Bira is calling for a number of measures to support small retail businesses through the coronavirus emergency including: An immediate increase […]

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14.02

Bira’s message to the new Chancellor

Bira is asking the new Chancellor of the Exchequer to honour pledges made by his predecessor. Bira is calling upon Rishi Sunak to retain plans for business rates reform, and for the implementation of a digital services tax so that large internet businesses pay more. Yesterday (Thursday, February 13), Mr Sunak was appointed Chief Finance Minister following […]

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06.02

Campaign victory for Bira as Scottish Parliament votes to retain Uniform Business Rates

Bira has welcomed the decision by Scottish Parliament to retain the Uniform Business Rates (UBR). MSPs overwhelmingly rejected plans to devolve rate-setting powers to the country’s 32 local authorities at Holyrood on Tuesday (February 4). They voted 103 to 10 against the move. Bira has been campaigning to save the UBR alongside the Scottish Retail Consortium […]

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04.02

QSM Q4 2019 – Christmas trading down for most

Sales were up for Books & Toys, Music, Computer & Telecoms and Health Store retailers between October and December 2019, but all other sectors have seen a drop. The overall picture from Bira’s exclusive Quarterly Sales Monitor (QSM) for the fourth quarter of 2019 is one of disappointment, with the vast majority of the figures […]

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28.01

Bira welcomes the Government’s decision to increase discount rates for small retailers

The British Independent Retailers Association (Bira) has welcomed the Treasury’s decision to increase discount rates for small retailers from one-third to 50 per cent. Bira says the move will save members on average £12,000 per year. The victory follows Bira’s three-year campaign to review the outdated and unfair rates system. The increase in the level […]

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07.01

Bira teams up with EKM to help bricks-and-mortar independents sell online

Bira has teamed up with ecommerce specialist EKM to provide members with a trusted way to build an online presence while supporting their bricks-and-mortar retail business. Preston-based EKM has helped over 80,000 businesses create their own successful online shop. Members who sign up will receive everything they need to run a transactional website, including a […]

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20.11

Conservatives listen to retailers in pledge to cut business rates

Bira welcomes the Conservatives proposal to support our high streets if they are re-elected. After a three-year campaign, Bira is pleased to see a significant reduction in rates proposed and a fundamental review of rates. Bira has been working with the Government over that past three years to offer a solution to the outdated and […]

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19.11

QSM Q3 2019 – Summer sales slump

Sales were up for Cards, Stationery, Crafts and Hobbies, Department Store and Books & Toys, Music, Computer/Telecoms independent retailers between July and September 2019, but all other sectors have seen a drop. The overall picture from Bira’s exclusive Quarterly Sales Monitor (QSM) for the third quarter of 2019 is one of disappointment, with the vast […]

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04.11

Independent retailers respond to the findings of the government’s inquiry into business rates

Bira welcomes the results of the government’s inquiry into business rates, but is disappointed with the recommendations for reform. The report is clear about the current business rates system needing reform by removing complexities, incentivising investment and changing the Check Challenge Appeal process, which Bira agrees with. Andrew Goodacre, CEO of Bira, said: “It is […]

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07.10

The 25 best small shops in the UK are announced

After hundreds of entrants, thousands of consumer votes and a panel of industry experts, the top 25 Best Small Shops in the UK have been announced and Bira member Arragons Cycle Centre, in Penrith is in the running. Entries for the Best Small Shops competition opened on the 4th of July 2019, to coincide with Independent’s […]

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03.10

The Excellence in Housewares Awards 2019 Winners Announced

Bira members amongst the winners at the 2019 Excellence in Housewares Awards Organised by Progressive Housewares magazine in conjunction with Bira, the Awards night took place at the Royal Lancaster London where nearly 400 movers and shakers of the housewares industry gathered to celebrate into the early hours. Awards host was popular televised comedian Stuart […]

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11.09

Calls for Andrea Leadsom to provide clarity on what Brexit means for the workforce

Bira has joined a number of associations, writing to Andrea Leadsom, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, calling for greater clarity on what Brexit will mean for the UK workforce.   With many independent businesses, both within Bira’s membership and also the British Agricultural Garden Machinery Association’s (BAGMA) relying heavily on foreign […]

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04.09

Businesses come together to urge business rates inquiry results

Bira has joined forces with a number of bodies, including the BRC and Association of Convenience Stores, to urge the Treasury Select Committee to release the findings of its inquiry into business rates. With several of the MPs involved in the inquiry moving into roles within Government, the inquiry has been held up and there […]

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14.08

Mica joins as a new division of the British Independent Retailers Association

The British Independent Retailers Association (Bira), the UK’s largest trade association for independent retail stores, has today confirmed an investment in Mica, which will see the co-operative group join the association as a new division. Mica and it’s 50+ hardware, DIY and garden stores across the UK have longstanding reputation for fierce independence and excellent […]

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12.08

Exclusive Bira benchmarking index available to all Bira members – where do you rank?

The Bira index, which benchmarks the social media performance of all Bira members, has just been made available to all Bira members. As an exclusive benefit to Bira members, the Bira index helps our members benchmark their social media performance against all other Bira members, allowing all members to benefit and learn from each other. […]

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01.08

QSM Q2 2019 – Spring sales fail to shine

Sales were up for Cookshop & Housewares, Floor Coverings, Beds & Soft Furnishings and Books & Toys, Music, Computers/Telecoms independent retailers between April and June 2019, but all other sectors have seen a drop. The overall picture from Bira’s exclusive Quarterly Sales Monitor (QSM) for the second quarter of 2019 is one of disappointment, with […]

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01.08

Bira’s priorities for the new Prime Minister

Following Boris Johnson’s rise to Prime Minister, The British Independent Retailers Association (Bira) is challenging the Government to resolve some of the ongoing issues that are burdening independent businesses, in order to ensure the future of our high streets. We are urging the new Prime Minister to: Find a Brexit solution that works for independent […]

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23.07

Members nominated for Excellence in Housewares Awards

Following industry-wide nominations from both suppliers and retailers, plus a day-long panel meeting to analyse and debate the housewares retail sector, the finalists for the Excellence in Housewares Awards 2019 retail categories have now been announced and Bira members are in the running.  HousewaresNews.net and Progressive Housewares’ editor, Jo Howard enthused: “We are thrilled to present an inspirational […]

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19.07

Disappointing figures for the quarter

Our latest sales figures show an average fall of -2.94% for independent retailers compared to the same three months last year. Scotland saw the sharpest fall in the UK compared to April, May and June in 2018. East Anglia was the only region reporting that sales had increased marginally, by an average of 1.32%. The […]

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18.07

Bira joins Down Your High Street to celebrate bricks and mortar retailers that trade online

Independent retailers came together last week at the OXO Tower in London to celebrate the ongoing success of the national online selling platform – Down Your High Street, alongside event organisers Network & Chill and partners The British Independent Retailers Association (Bira). With workshop sessions from DYHS supporter Mark Hayes, stylist on ITVs Lorraine and […]

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27.06

Meet your new National President

Howard Pullen of Howard Pullen Machinery in Loxwood, West Sussex succeeded Surinder Josan of All Seasons DIY, in Smethwick, West Midlands, as Bira National President at the Bira AGM on the 20th June. Howard is the second member of the British Agricultural and Garden Machinery Association (BAGMA), which is a part of the Bira family, […]

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05.06

BRC figures show retail sales slump but what does this mean for the independents?

Figures released by the British Retail Consortium today show a 2.7% slump in retail sales, the biggest dip in 24 years. In response, Andrew Goodacre CEO of the British Independent Retail Association, Bira said: “The disappointing figures reported by the BRC are reflective of the challenging times retail faces as a whole. We saw encouraging […]

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20.05

MPs take their enquiry into business rates to Birmingham to hear from independent retailers

The Rt Hon Nicky Morgan, MP (Chair of the Treasury Committee) alongside MPs Steve Baker, Alison McGovern and Clive Betts (Chair of the Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee) brought the Treasury Committee’s enquiry into business rates to Birmingham today, to speak to a number of independent retailers at the British Independent Retailers Association’s […]

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15.05

Ofgem announces strategic review of microbusiness energy market

Ofgem is concerned some microbusinesses are struggling to engage with the market and paying more for their energy than they should. Our evaluation of the impact of the CMA’s price transparency remedy suggests that wider issues remain in the £3.5 billion microbusiness energy market. Ofgem presents its initial analysis on consumer harm and seeks further […]

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10.05

Independent retailer exceeds previous years’ annual online turnover in just one month!

It’s been another disappointing year for the high street, but there has been some very good news for one independent retailer. Sarah at Artichoke has seen her profits soar, despite the declining footfall, and recounts how in just one month she exceeded her previous year’s entire online annual turnover! These are huge statistics and Sarah […]

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09.05

QSM Q1 2019 – An encouraging start to the year

Sales were up for Cookshop & Housewares, Clothing & Footwear and Furniture, Floor Coverings, Beds and Soft Furnishings independent retailers between January and March 2019, whilst Health Store and Department Stores struggle. The overall picture from Bira’s exclusive Quarterly Sales Monitor (QSM) for the first quarter of 2019 is one of encouragement, with many of […]

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30.04

Treasury Committee brings its Business Rates inquiry to Birmingham to hear from independent retailers

The Treasury Committee together with the British Independent Retailers Association (Bira) are hosting an event about Business Rates and the effect they have on independent retailers and our high streets, on the 20th May. The event will bring together a number of business associations, businesses of all sizes, sole traders, as well as the committee members, […]

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08.04

Scarlet Opus @ the Exclusively Shows

Trend consultancy Scarlet Opus will once again be on hand at Exclusively Housewares and Exclusively Electrical to provide an invaluable insight in to trends which will influence the homewares sector over the next few seasons. Scarlet Opus provide in-depth predictions about the future wants needs & desires of consumers; how people will be living and […]

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20.03

Bira and BHETA tussle it out on the turf

The British Independent Retailers Association and the British Home Enhancement Trade Association (BHETA) will come together again to present a friendly but competitive networking, business and social occasion in the calendar by way of the fourth ‘Tussle on the Turf’ golf tournament. The event is to be held on Wednesday 17th July in Stratford-upon-Avon at […]

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27.02

Putting off installing the latest software updates could result in cyber crime

New #LifeUpdates campaign is warning that putting off installing the latest software and app updates can result in becoming a victim of cyber crime New research from Anglia Ruskin University, in partnership with the government’s Cyber Aware campaign, has revealed that nearly nine in ten (89%) respondents delay doing one or more ‘life updates’1. This […]

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14.02

120 years supporting independent retail businesses

This year, the British Independent Retailers Association (Bira) celebrates 120 years of supporting independent retailers. Since 1899 when Bira’s predecessors – the Ironmongers Federation, the British Hardware Federation and the Drapers Chamber of Trade (DCT) were formed, and following a number of business acquisitions and partnerships, including the British Shops and Stores Association in 2009, […]

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24.01

QSM Q4 2018: Christmas period boosts trading – for some

Sales were up for Gifts, Glass, China, Jewellery, Accessories and Luggage, Cookshop & Housewares and Health Store retailers during October – December, whilst Cards, Stationery, Cards and Hobbies struggle. The overall picture from Bira’s exclusive Quarterly Sales Monitor (QSM) for the fourth quarter of 2018 is one of disappointment, with many of the figures showing […]

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17.01

Mental Health First Aid in the workplace debate date set

Following the open letter to the Prime Minister regarding an amendment to the Health and Safety in the workplace regulation, a parliamentary debate on mental health first aid in the workplace has been scheduled for Thursday 17th January. The Backbench Business debate is sponsored by a cross party trio of MPs Luciana Berger MP (Lab), […]

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30.11

Independent retail hit by a loss of -1,554 units in first six months of 2018

Data released today by the British Independent Retailers Association (bira) and the Local Data Company (LDC) shows that independent retailers opened significantly more shops in H1 2018 than in the same period last year. However, a record number of stores were closed over the same period. This resulted in a total decline of -1,554 shops (-0.5%) – a significant […]

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16.11

Stars: Underlines 2018 – the winners revealed

Renowned cabaret destination, Café de Paris, was the spectacular venue for the 10th edition of Stars: Underlines Best Shop Awards. 300 guests from the intimate apparel, swimwear and legwear industries met for a star-studded evening, sponsored by LYCRA® fibre, celebrating 60 years in 2018 and hosted by leading b2b publication, Underlines Magazine. The 2018 event […]

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25.10

bira’s magazine and newsletter are officially award-winning!

bira’s membership magazine, as well as the membership newsletter came away with silvers at the annual Association Excellence Awards, held at the Kia Oval in Kennington, London on Friday 12 October. Some of the team behind the magazine and newsletter attended the event and were delighted to celebrate the honours after picking up the two silver […]

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01.11

Government introduces tough new measures to prevent acid attacks

Retailers encouraged to sign up to Voluntary Agreement to support the fight against these crimes As the Government introduces tough new measures to prevent acid attacks, including a two year sentence for anyone caught carrying sulphuric acid above 15% concentration without a licence, it is important for independent retailers who stock and sell such products […]

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