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Grants of up to £100,000 made available to boost Cornish High Streets

7 Nov 2023

Communities across Cornwall can now apply for grants of up to £100,000 to improve High Streets, the council has said.
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Warwickshire County Council launches campaign to promote Christmas shopping at independent businesses

6 Nov 2023

A Christmas campaign encouraging Warwickshire’s independent town businesses to shout about why shoppers should buy from them this year is making a comeback.
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The Times names prettiest towns for indie Christmas shopping

6 Nov 2023

With just over six weeks until Christmas, The Times has named what it says are the seven prettiest towns in the UK for Christmas shopping, making special mention of the presence of independent... Read more…

Cardmitment campaign launched to remind people of the power of sending greetings cards

23 Oct 2023

Cardmitment campaign launched to remind people of the power of sending greetings cards
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New guides welcome on how to make shops more accessible for the elderly

23 Oct 2023

The International Longevity Centre has released new guides to show the steps retailers need to take to make their shops more accessible for the elderly.
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Bristol sandwich shop named best in the UK

23 Oct 2023

Family-run Bristol sandwich shop Sandwich Sandwich has been named best in the UK at the UberEats awards.
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Convenience stores to trial UK’s first digital proof of age card

23 Oct 2023

Convenience stores are set to be part of a testing programme for the UK’s first digital proof of age card.
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Police deploying facial recognition technology to target shoplifters and other retail criminals

23 Oct 2023

“Game-changing” facial recognition technology is targeting prolific retail criminals, including shoplifters.
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Prime Minister's Funding Injection for Left-Behind Towns Welcomed by Bira

10 Oct 2023

British Independent Retail Association (Bira) acknowledges the Government's investment in towns across the UK.
 
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Indie retailers say policing minister’s citizen’s arrest solution to retail crime is ‘high risk’

9 Oct 2023

Policing minister Chris Philp has encouraged shop workers to make ‘citizen’s arrests’ on shoplifters, a message branded as ‘dangerous and irresponsible’  by... Read more…

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Almost 2,000 more independent shops left empty in the first half of this year

Posted on in Business News

Almost 2,000 more British independent shops were left empty in the first half of this year, as small businesses struggled to cope with rising inflation and the cost-of-living crisis.

empty shop

The loss of 1,915 outlets across high streets, shopping centres and retail parks this year unwinds most of the 1,335 net openings in the first half of last year and 804 during the same period in 2021, according to research by the Local Data Company (LDC) and reported by the Guardian.

The biggest rise in vacancies in at least eight years marks a reversal in fortunes for independent outlets after two years of growth. Small firms had thrived from a shift towards local shopping prompted by the pandemic and were also helped by government Covid support on rent and business rates.

Hairdressers were the hardest hit, according to LDC, with net loss of 389 businesses. Estate agents, pubs, fish and chip shops, florists, butchers, newsagents and car dealerships also suffered.

However, the number of barbers, beauty salons and convenience stores continued to expand as demand for cheap treats on the return to offices, schools and socialising increased sales. Independent vape shops and health clubs are also thriving.

The north-east of England and Yorkshire were the worst-hit regions for independent closures, while Greater London fared the best.

Lucy Stainton, the commercial director at LDC, said: “In this year’s macroeconomic environment, it’s our independent businesses that have suffered, especially those high-energy consuming businesses such as hairdressers and pubs.

“We have also seen a decline in independent estate agents as the housing market slowed against a backdrop of rising interest rates. And with newsagents struggling to compete with the increase in convenience stores and their broader offering, this was another subsector to struggle in the first half.”

Stainton said the slew of independent businesses that started up during the pandemic were less likely to have the cash reserves to withstand the economic challenges of high-cost inflation and tightening consumer spending, especially as they had not been trading for very long. Their difficulties have been worsened by a slowdown in government support.

Martin McTague, the national chair of the Federation of Small Businesses, said: “We saw a flourishing of new businesses conceived during the pandemic, which was a real bright spot in a turbulent time, as people suddenly had a chance to put long-held dreams or flashes of inspiration into practice.

“These new additions helped to counterbalance the businesses that sadly had to close as the economic disruption took its toll. News that many of these newer businesses in turn are encountering difficult trading conditions is worrying but not surprising given the huge challenges facing the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors.”

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