23 Nov 2020

Bira 'delighted' non-essential retail can reopen on December 2

Bira has expressed 'delight' non-essential retail will be allowed to reopen in England from next Wednesday (December 2).

The comments follow Prime Minister Boris Johnson's statement to the House of Commons this afternoon (Monday, November 23).

Following a second lockdown in England, all 'non-essential' retail was forced to shut from November 5 to December 2, inclusive.

However, shops will now be allowed to reopen on Wednesday, December 2, - a day before expected.

Bira's CEO Andrew Goodacre said: " We are delighted that shops can re-open from December 2, and are also unaffected by the new tier system.

"We are receiving more notice than we thought as we actually expected confirmation on Thursday. Retailers will be ready and we hope that the town centres and local authorities will also have prepared to  accommodate shoppers.

"Many have been trying to do business online and via click and collect. December will be all about selling Christmas goods, and retailers will have to work hard and be creative to attract shoppers."

He added: "The second lockdown has had a terrible impact on independent retail - potentially more than than the first one because it is such an important time on the retail calendar.

"Research tells us that 20% of indies did not re-open in the summer after the first lockdown so we will not see the full impact of this until January or February - but it could be the same again.

He said that indies need further support to survive this challenging time.

"Cash is running out and more grants will be needed in January. We need clarity on business rates and the decision to extend the rates holiday for non-essential businesses.

"We need funds and expertise to help indie retailers to continue their transition to a stronger digital footprint. We also need to realise that shopping is safe and no need to close shops even if there is a third lockdown."

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