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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 figures for April, helped by Easter, but these figures show the brittle nature of consumer confidence and any uncertainty (such as Brexit) will result in less spending.

“Interestingly, whilst we can’t directly compare these figures, our own survey of independent retail businesses saw a slightly better first quarter for small businesses, with 51.75% of respondents reporting a higher performance for Q1, which is up on Q4 2018 (46.43%) and is a clear improvement on Q1 2018 (42.56%). We hope this positive start to the year for independent retail businesses will continue but as we know, nothing is certain in retail.

“The smaller independent retail businesses have been helped with a 30% reduction in business rates and we now need the Government to start spending the £675 million high street fund to help bring confidence back to our high streets. As always, Bira will continue to fight the corner for independent businesses across the UK and we are now looking to secure a permanent solution for business rates from 2021.”

Bira runs the Quarterly Sales Monitor four times a year, it is the only survey of its kind that reflects the independent retail industry in the UK. The report features full analysis from the survey as well as all member comments. All reports are then used to influence the media and Government through our Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee (LPAC).