{$inpagemarkup}

Search News

Results: 1-10 of 697


Business rate reform called for as industry reacts to landslide Labour election win

9 Jul 2024

Following Labour’s general election win, the retail industry has stressed the need for a business rates overhaul to protect high streets across the country.
Read more…

Bira calls on new Labour government to prioritise independent retail sector

9 Jul 2024

Following Labour’s landslide Election victory, Bira, the British Independent Retailers Association, has urged the new government to make good on its promise of change by prioritising the... Read more…

Much loved toyshop saved by owner's daughter

9 Jul 2024

A much-loved toy shop in Aberystwyth that was facing closure has been saved after the former shopkeeper's daughter decided to take over the reins.
Read more…

Inverness-based retailer wins coveted Drapers Award for Best Independent Footwear Retailer

9 Jul 2024

A family-owner retailer in Inverness, Begg Shoes, has been named Best Independent Footwear Retailer at the 2024 Drapers Footwear Awards, held annually to celebrate the outstanding achievements... Read more…

'Pay-as-you-feel' barber wins hairdressing award

9 Jul 2024

A man who offers "pay-as-you-feel" haircuts has been named the UK's best barber.
Read more…

The Times publishes its list of the seven best shopping streets in the UK

24 Jun 2024

The Times has just published its list of the seven best shopping streets in the UK.
Read more…

Indie retail village wins Hospitality Hero Velvet Award for 2024

24 Jun 2024

An independent retail village in Ely that celebrates its one-year anniversary this month has won the Hospitality Hero Velvet Award for 2024.
Read more…

Bike shop owner slams police’s “abject apathy” after three shops broken into in one night

24 Jun 2024

A cycle shop owner has criticised the police’s “abject apathy” towards bike theft after thieves attempted to break into his store for the second time in a year, on the same... Read more…

A simple comparison of the General Election manifestos

24 Jun 2024

With less than three weeks to go until the General Election, Bira has produced a simple table comparing manifestos for Labour, Conservatives, Liberal Democrats, Green Party and Reform UK, and... Read more…

Independents Day message - supporting independent shops boosts local jobs and economies.

24 Jun 2024

With the annual Independents’ Day weekend coming up on July 6th and 7th, independent retailers have been reinforcing the message that supporting independent shops boosts... Read more…

Back to news menu

Independent Retailers Association Survey Shows Challenging Q1 for Traders

Posted on in Business News

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 (ACT)

The associations' first Heartbeat survey asked members about their trading performance in the first quarter of 2024 (January to March) compared to the previous quarter (Q4 2023) and the same period in 2023.

It also gauged confidence levels for Q2 2024 and the full year, as well as the impact of the national minimum wage (NMW) increase in April.

Bira, which works with over 6,000 independent businesses of all sizes across the UK, found that 46.5% of respondents said their Q1 2024 trading was somewhat or much worse than Q4 2023. However, over a third (35.6%) reported somewhat or much better performance versus the previous quarter.

Year-on-year, the picture was more mixed, with 35% saying Q1 2024 was somewhat or much better than Q1 2023, but 46% reporting somewhat or much worse results compared to the same period last year.

Looking ahead, confidence for Q2 2024 is relatively low, with 42.6% feeling somewhat or highly unconfident about April to June. Just 27.8% are somewhat or highly confident, while 29.7% are neutral.

Andrew Goodacre, CEO of Bira, said: "These findings highlight the challenges facing many of our independent retail members as they navigate rising costs and economic pressures. The increase to the national minimum wage in April has been a further strain, with over a third saying it has negatively impacted their business.

"Additionally, nearly a quarter have been forced to reduce staff hours or headcount as a result of the higher wage floor. However, we were encouraged that over a third of members still managed to grow their sales in Q1 2024 versus the previous year, but margins have been squeezed due to increased business costs and wage increases.

"With confidence for Q2 and the full year remaining subdued, we will continue supporting our members through these tough trading conditions. Nurturing vibrant independent retail communities is vital for strengthening local economies across Britain," he added.

The survey data also indicated that 32.4% of respondents had experienced higher-paid staff asking for pay rises following the NMW increase, while 19.6% do not employ anyone on the minimum wage.

Mr Goodacre added that with the General Election now being called for July 4, will make for an interesting few months ahead for traders across the country, but has called for all parties to have the high street focus in mind when looking at their plans for change in 2024.

Back to news menu

Useful links

If you have any other queries please contact us.