High Street

Small retailers could fold without help, FSB warns

In addition, almost half of exporters expect international sales to drop this quarter, up from 33% from this time last year

Small retailers are among the 250,000 UK small businesses set to fold without further help, a new report by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) reveals.

According to data published in its Small Business Index (SBI),  a “record number” of small business owners are planning to close their companies over the coming twelve months. With 14% of businesses owners also forecasting that they will be forced to cut numbers over the next three months. 

The proportion is at an all-time high for the SBI, which launched in the wake of the financial crash, and is more than double that recorded at the same point 12 months ago.

The FSB warned that the proportion of small businesses, including retailers predicting a reduction in profitability for the coming quarter has “spiralled over the past year”, rising from 38% to 58%.

In addition almost half of exporters expect international sales to drop this quarter, up from 33% from this time last year.  

Mike Cherry, FSB national chairman said: “The development of business support measures has not kept pace with intensifying restrictions. As a result, we risk losing hundreds of thousands of great, ultimately viable small businesses this year, at huge cost to local communities and individual livelihoods.

“At the outset of the first national lockdown, the UK Government was bold. The support mechanisms put in place weren’t perfect, but they were an exceptionally good starting point. That’s why it’s so disappointing that it’s met this second lockdown with a whimper. “

He added: “There are meaningful lifelines for retail, leisure and hospitality businesses, which are very welcome as far as they go. But this Government needs to realise that the small business community is much bigger than these three sectors.”

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