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Bira leads £1 billion damages claim against Amazon by UK retailers in landmark collective action

12 Jun 2024

A £1 billion damages claim has been filed against Amazon on behalf of retailers selling on Amazon’s UK marketplace for illegally misusing their data and manipulating the Amazon Buy... Read more…

Bira responds to KPMG Retail Sales Monitor report

10 Jun 2024

The British Independent Retailers Association (Bira) has responded to the BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor for May 2024.
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Small independent Harrogate shop does it again at the national level with new awards glory

10 Jun 2024

Independent Harrogate computer shop Phase 4 Computers has been named as a finalist in the Tech Awards 2024.
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Knutsford fashion show highlights town's 'amazing independent shops'

10 Jun 2024

Independent boutiques in Knutsford have teamed up once again to showcase their new designs at the third Flash Fashion.
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Increasing numbers of UK consumers limiting their spending to goods on promotion

10 Jun 2024

Research of over 1,000 UK shoppers by Pricer shows 27% now only buy grocery items which are on offer – a +6 percentage increase compared to 2023. 
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Taunton book shop to host three talks from climate specialists ahead of election

10 Jun 2024

Independent Taunton book shop Brendon Books is to host talks from climate specialists ahead of the general election.
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Bira releases new podcast exploring accessibility on the High Street

3 Jun 2024

The British Independent Retailers Association has released the second episode of its 'High Street Matters' podcast series, this time tackling the important issue of accessibility for independent... Read more…

Independent Retailers Association Survey Shows Challenging Q1 for Traders

29 May 2024

Many independent retailers across the UK faced a difficult start to 2024 according to a new survey by Bira, the British Independent Retailers Association and the Association of Cycle Traders... Read more…

Harrogate record shop marks 30th anniversary with vinyl revival

29 May 2024

P&C Music – Harrogate's oldest independent record shop – is celebrating its 30th anniversary, having become a mecca for vinyl record fans in a wide variety... Read more…

Crickhowell’s Book-ish crowned best independent bookshop in UK and Ireland

28 May 2024

 A Powys bookshop has been named as the best independent in the UK and Ireland.
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Mary Portas warns government to act now or see half of high street shops shut

Posted on in Business News, Cycles News

Ahead of the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement this week, retail expert Mary Portas called on the Government to rethink business rates and VAT to help struggling retailers.

She said: “Put simply we could lose half of all shops. We need to look at the systems they are currently working under, because they are not fit for purpose for the future.

Row of Bikes

“So VAT, business rates, all of it needs to be looked at. We need to look at the bigger picture and how people want, and need to live, in the future – for the good of themselves and the planet.”

In 2011, she published a report stating the aim was to “put the heart back into the centre of our high streets, calling on the authorities to re-imagine them “as destinations for socialising, culture, health, wellbeing, creativity and learning.” But she says nothing has changed in the past decade and without more support thousands of small shops will be lost during the cost-of-living crisis.

“It’s no different now to 11 years ago when I brought out my report,” she says. “As for big business and governments, people don’t trust them, they’ve had enough. We want what’s local, what’s safe and what we can trust.”

She added: “What’s inspiring, but at the same time frustrating, is everything I wrote in my report more than a decade ago, about how important high streets are to our society and our daily lives, is the same.

“They’re more important than what is being sold to us. People, particularly post-Covid, realise how important they are to their wellbeing and how they live. Having thriving high streets we can walk or cycle to for our daily needs is vital to our future.”

She praised “incredible independents” which make up 90% of high street businesses but admitted frustration because “all we talk about are big businesses”.

She said: “Small businesses have been hugely successful, and we need them to succeed. When it comes to budgets and government spending, I believe it needs to be about prioritising. And I happen to think we should prioritise the wellbeing of society.”

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