26 Jun 2020

'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 how you had faired following the reopening of non-essential shops in England on June 15.

Key findings include:

More than one fifth (22.3%) of respondents enjoyed more than 100% better sales than they would have expected pre-COVID-19; 15% had between 75-100% of expected sales compared to before the crisis. Just 11% had only taken 0-25% of predicted sales.

Almost 90% (89.3%) had implemented social distancing measures inside their premises.

63% had some sort of social distancing measures outside the premises - and had better sales because of it.

Looking ahead, 30% of respondents feel ‘fully prepared’ for a second lockdown (national or regional), while 49.5% feel ‘somewhat prepared’ if restrictions are implemented again.

Member comments were positive. Damian Clarke of Stringers Department Store, Lytham, said: “Demand has been strong, customers and staff have adapted well.”

Meanwhile, Lucy Richards, The Kitchen Range, West Wickham, said: “Sales were double our usual figures.  Customers were delighted to be able to shop.”

And Jo Asquith, Frankie & Johnny’s, York, said: “We have been very busy with great support from the local community.  Everyone was very happy to see us back open and it felt good to be back.”

Andrew Goodacre said: “The results were encouraging but also highlighted fragile consumer confidence.

“We welcome the reopening of the hospitality sector in England on July 4, but more help is needed for independent retailers moving forward, such as a reduction in VAT.”

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