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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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…

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Bira releases new podcast exploring accessibility on the High Street

Posted on in Business News, Cycles News

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 retailers.

Andrew Goodacre

The episode 'Accessability - Unlocking The High Street' dives into why and how indie traders should focus on making their retail spaces more inclusive. Featuring interviews with key figures, the podcast explores the commercial benefits of embracing accessibility.

Andrew Goodacre, CEO of Bira, said: "Many indie traders talk to me about this. They want to be accessible. They can do the things they can control themselves, but a lot of the time they see steps taken around them where people are putting barriers up to coming to the shops and the high streets, and often parking is seen as one of those barriers."

He questioned how some local authorities and added: "They are wanting to be greener, wanting to be more sustainable, wanting to be in their eyes more inclusive. A lot of those plans invariably lead to pedestrianised areas, a realigning of the road network, effectively removing cars out of the town centre...but when you start changing a place and creating unseen barriers to people using that place that starts when these plans are not cohesive and not thought out."

Tony Elvin, General Manager of Touchwood Shopping Centre, said how prioritising accessibility has driven success through schemes such as Purple Tuesday and ShopMobility.

He said: "An independent newsagent's feedback from Purple Tuesday was that a wheelchair user since he moved his shop around they couldn't get a wheelchair through. They could get to the counter but couldn't get around everything they needed. And literally, by turning a counter around he has seen his business increase by people being able to get into his store. He felt like he should have known this already, but only when he received it he realised it. He was delighted by the fact that small changes to make his store more accessible made such a difference."

The podcast also features insights from Alisa Forbes of the International Longevity Centre UK, whose recent "Healthy Retail, Hints and Tips" report underscored the business case for making shops more accessable.

She said: "Above all else it makes commercial sense. A headline statistic tells us that by 2040 older households could be responsible for spending 63p in every £1 by customers. There is also a study which shows a positive in-person experience turns that one-off customer into a loyal repeat customer, whether that's a clean toilet, a welcoming smile, product at the right height. Customers spend in shops when they feel comfortable and welcome. And there is also a moral and social benefit too...our local shops are really vital to the health of our local communities and retailers have a key role in enabling customers to live healthier, happier and more active lives by the actions they take."

Hosted by journalist Steve Dyson, the podcast guides retailers through affordable ways to enhance accessibility within their premises while highlighting the moral, social and economic incentives.

Independent retailers across the UK can subscribe to the "High Street Matters" podcast through major streaming platforms.

New episodes will be released throughout the year and feature issues including the sale of hazardous substances, the cycle to work scheme and many other themes relevant to retailers today. 
 

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