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16.09

Bira delighted at extended protection for commercial tenants against eviction

Bira is ‘delighted’ the Government has extended its protection for commercial tenants from eviction until the end of the year. Today’s announcement, made by Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick, follows Bira’s campaigning efforts highlighting the concern of members. It means that businesses will be protected from the threat of eviction until the end of 2020 – […]

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21.08

High street retail ‘still under considerable pressure’, says Bira

Bira is warning that high street retail is ‘still under considerable pressure’, following new figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) suggesting its in recovery. Positive data from the ONS has been interpreted to suggest high street trade is improving post-lockdown. However, Bira’s CEO, Andrew Goodacre, said this is misleading. “Any retail sales growth […]

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20.08

Bira: Local authorities road closures are ‘accelerating the decline of the high street’

Local authorities across the UK are ‘accelerating the decline of the high street’ with unnecessary road closures, according to Bira. We’ve been inundated with your calls concerned that post-lockdown accessibility issues are significantly impacting trade. We are now working hard to help you address these problems, and to bring the issue to the attention of […]

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10.07

Bira’s coronavirus membership deal raises cash for charity

Bira has raised more than £1,000 for charity through its coronavirus membership deal. At the start of lockdown, Bira offered independent retailers the opportunity to sign up for the free three-month Coronavirus Membership Package in return for a nominal donation of £1, £5 or £10 to the Rainy Day Trust (RDT). The deal was available […]

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08.07

Bira ‘disappointed’ mini-Budget does not help indie retailers

Bira has expressed its disappointment that Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s mini-Budget does not directly help retail business owners. Mr Sunak announced a raft of further measures to support the recovery of the economy following the coronavirus lockdown, in Parliament this afternoon (Wednesday, July 8). Features of the Budget included a job retention bonus scheme; a £2bn […]

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07.07

Best Small Shops competition is ‘more important than ever’, says Bira

Bira is highlighting the importance of this year’s Best Small Shops competition. The 2020 competition, run by the Independent Retail Consortium (IRC), launched on Saturday (July 4) – Independents’ Day. It celebrates the best of the independent high street. This year’s contest is inviting entries from indies demonstrating specific innovation to combat the impact of […]

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01.07

Increased road closures ‘detrimental’ to high street trade, says Bira

Increasing numbers of road closures are a further barrier for shoppers to return to the high street, says Bira. Bira is raising concerns after members in coastal resorts highlighted the problem when roads were closed as tourists flocked to beaches during lockdown last week. Andrew Goodacre, Bira’s CEO, said these issues are part of a country-wide, […]

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26.06

‘Encouraging’ start to return of non-essential retail

The latest Bira members’ survey has revealed ‘encouraging’ trade following the reopening of non-essential shops in England. And Bira’s CEO Andrew Goodacre has welcomed the reopening of the hospitality industry – on July 4 in England – as it will further support members and the wider independent retail sector. The members’ survey was carried out to assess […]

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19.06

Bira members’ survey results helps extend government protection scheme

Bira has welcomed the decision to extend protection for businesses from aggressive debt collection. The extended measures will prevent struggling retailers from eviction until September. The protection was due to expire on June 30. The decision was made by the Government after Bira shared information supplied by you in a recent members’ survey. The survey […]

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16.06

Bira fights for retailers who missed out on Covid-19 support

Bira has vowed to continue to fight for retailers who have missed out on government support. The pledge follows the findings of the Treasury Select Committee that one million people had missed out on receiving any financial support during the pandemic. The committee’s report is supported by Bira’s own research which revealed many of you […]

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08.06

Bira opposed to proposed relaxation of Sunday trading laws

Bira has expressed concern for proposed relaxation of Sunday trading laws. Under plans being suggested by the Government, England could suspend Sunday trading laws for a year in a bid to boost the economy. However, Bira – who has added its support to the Keep Sunday Special campaign – is opposed to the proposals, saying […]

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11.05

Reopening indies must be part of first phase of exit plan, says Bira

‘Independent retail businesses can offer a safe shopping environment and will help keep people within their local communities’, says the head of Bira. Andrew Goodacre is calling for small independent shops to reopen during the first phase of lifting lockdown restrictions outlined in government documents this afternoon (Tuesday, May 11). He says that a shop’s […]

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06.05

No revaluation of business rates in 2021

Bira has welcomed today’s government announcement that there will be no revaluation of business rates in 2021. The move – following pressure from Bira and Altus Group – will help reduce the uncertainty for firms affected by the impact of Covid-19. Legislation had been introduced to bring the next revaluation forward by one year from 2022 to 2021, but following the recent economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic Ministers said they want […]

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05.05

Bira supports top-up scheme for local business grant funds

A new scheme to top-up local business grant funds has been welcomed by Bira. Bira has been pressuring the Government to go further in its grant scheme to accommodate small businesses previously outside the scope of the business grant funds scheme. In response, Business Secretary Alok Sharma announced an extra £617m would be made available […]

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30.04

Revaluation of business rates postponed following pressure from Bira

A government plan to bring forward the next revaluation of business rates to April 1, 2021, has been shelved following pressure from Bira. Bira joined other heads of the retail sector in demanding that Chancellor Rishi Sunak withdraw ‘disastrous’ legislation, which was due to be discussed on Wednesday (April 29). However, on Monday (April 27), […]

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29.04

Bira’s CEO shares possible exit strategy

Brave, customer-focussed retailers who work closely with others in their community are most likely to survive in post-lockdown UK, according to Bira’s CEO. Andrew Goodacre has shared his thoughts for a possible exit strategy for the retail industry calling for restrictions to be first lifted for smaller shops and businesses. It comes as pressure mounts […]

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23.04

Bira welcomes new protection for retailers from aggressive debt recovery

Temporary new measures to protect small businesses against aggressive debt recovery during the Covid-19 crisis have been welcomed by Bira.  Today (April 23), Business Secretary Alok Sharma announced landlords and investors will be asked to work collaboratively with high street businesses unable to pay their bills through the coronavirus pandemic. The measures – introduced under […]

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22.04

Bira members share inspiring stories of lockdown life

From making scrubs for NHS staff to providing bags of books for disadvantaged children, Bira members have been helping communities across the UK cope during the coronavirus outbreak. Bira asked members to share their experiences amidst the countrywide lockdown – and the stories reveal an uplifting sense of community spirit and creativity in a crisis. […]

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14.04

Banks still failing small retail businesses, says Bira

High street lenders are failing to ‘rise to the challenge’ of supporting small retail businesses during the Covid-19 crisis, according to Bira. Andrew Goodacre, Bira’s CEO, said new government figures revealing that only 1.4% of applications for a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme had been successful were ‘no surprise’. The figures have been released almost […]

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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 of 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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