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Economy

Non-food retailers see £22bn sales hit due to Covid

The BRC is calling for an extension on the business rates holiday and on the moratorium on debt enforcement by landlords in response

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) is reporting that the country’s three national lockdowns have cost ‘non-food’ stores – mainly ‘non-essential’ retail – an estimated £22bn in lost sales.

The trade association said stricter restrictions in the crucial run-up to Christmas hampered retailers’ ability to generate much-needed turnover, which would have helped power their recovery in 2021.

In response to the industry crisis, the BRC is calling for an extension on the business rates holiday and on the moratorium on debt enforcement by landlords.

Helen Dickinson OBE, BRC’s chief executive, said: “After 2020 proved to be the worst year on record, it is essential that the Chancellor uses the Spring budget to support those businesses hardest hit by the pandemic.

“Vital support in the form of an extension to the business rates relief and moratorium on debt enforcement, as well as removing state aid caps on Covid business grants, would relieve struggling businesses of bills they cannot currently pay and allow them to trade their way to recovery.”

She added: “Tackling the challenge of Rates, Rents and Grants should be the Government’s immediate priority to ensuring the survival and revival of non-essential retailers and protecting the jobs of hundreds of thousands of retail workers across the country.

“The investment we provide to retailers now, will be repaid many times over through more jobs and greater tax revenues in the future.”

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