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Study highlights impact of rising staff costs for convenience retailers.

3 Apr 2024

Research by the University of Stirling and the Scottish Grocers’ Federation has shed light on the impact of rising staff costs on the convenience retail sector in Scotland.
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Independent department stores hitting a sweet spot on local high streets.

3 Apr 2024

With large national chains increasingly disappearing from the high street, Drapers magazine has been looking at how independent department stores are stepping up their offerings to... Read more…

Entries open for 2024 Baking Industry Awards

2 Apr 2024

The Baking Industry Awards return for their 37th year and are once again ready to recognise and reward the very best people, products, and businesses in the sector. The awards showcase the... Read more…

Family-owned cycle shop celebrates 90 years trading in Walsall.

2 Apr 2024

Walsall's cycling community has been celebrating a family-owned business which celebrates its 90th anniversary this year.
 
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Payment-processing outages at UK retailers raise reliability issues for cashless transactions.

2 Apr 2024

Recent payment disruptions at supermarkets and fast-food outlets have raised questions on the need for improved reliability.
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North Yorkshire cycle hub up for top tourism award

22 Mar 2024

Rob Brown, co-director of Dalby Forest Cycle Hub, a not-for-profit hire scheme has been nominated for the Tourism Superstar 2024 award, run by VisitEngland.
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Independent retail bodies welcome new report aimed at tackling retail crime.

21 Mar 2024

ACS (The Association of Convenience Stores) and the Federation of Independent Retailers (The Fed) have both welcomed a new report published by the Association of Police and Crime... Read more…

Indie retailers outperformed supermarkets in sales of organic food, wellness and beauty products in 2023.

21 Mar 2024

As reported by Healthstores UK, new data contained in the 2024 Soil Association Organic Market report shows that independent retailers delivered an impressive 10% growth in 2023, with... Read more…

Cheltenham beer shop and bar wins top UK award.

21 Mar 2024

An independent bottle shop and bar in Cheltenham has been named as the UK's Independent Beer and Wine Retailer of the Year 2024 at the Drinks Retailing Awards. 
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Welsh Government Announce £20m Future Proofing Fund for Retail Businesses in Wales

21 Mar 2024

A number of organisations, including Bira (the British Independent Retailers’ Association), other trade associations, BIDs and unions have met with officials from the Welsh Government to... Read more…

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High Street Faces 'Unprecedented Challenges' says Trade Association

Posted on in Business News

The British Independent Retailers’ Association (Bira) has reacted to data released by PwC and the Local Data Company exploring the state of the UK retail landscape.

High street

The high street faced 'unprecedented challenges' following the news of a decrease in stores across the country in 2023. Despite the rise in new outlets opened by UK chains, the closure of stores continues to outpace openings, resulting in a net decrease of 5,000 stores.

Andrew Goodacre, CEO of Bira, expressed concern over the challenges facing independent retailers:

"Further evidence of how difficult it is for retailers on the high streets in the UK. Our own recent survey also showed more than 50% of indies were concerned about 2024. We disagree that store closure was a result of a long-term trend of people moving online because since Covid restrictions were lifted in 2021, online sales have fallen. We believe store closures have occurred due to the cost-of-living crisis reducing consumer spending and the ever-increasing costs of running a shop, with many indies saying enough is enough."

The figures reveal a concerning trend with a daily closure rate of 14 stores, underscoring the challenges faced by both retail and service industries amidst the growing preference for online shopping. Despite 9,138 new openings last year, primarily driven by hospitality sites such as drive through coffee shops and fast-food restaurants on out of city centre areas, the closure of major chains such as Wilko, Lloyds Pharmacy, and Paperchase has contributed to a net decrease in retail presence across the UK.

PwC's analysis highlights the impact of "one-off" restructurings and failures at major retailers, further exacerbating the closure rate. However, out-of-town retail parks have shown resilience, buoyed by the emergence of new food outlets, while the expansion of electric vehicle charging stations has led to a net gain of 48 petrol stations.

The rise in new hospitality sites represents a rebound for the sector following the challenges posed by the pandemic. Despite this, the broader retail landscape continues to face unprecedented challenges, with independent retailers bearing the brunt of economic pressures.

Mr Goodacre added that Bira remains committed to supporting independent retailers across the UK, advocating for policies that address the underlying issues impacting the retail sector.

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