// 22% of SME business could close within the next year if they endure a below-average Christmas, according to survey
// 8% say this could happen within weeks
// Meanwhile, 85% of shoppers say they support local business, but 1/3 have not bought anything from them in the last 6 months
More than one in five smaller retailers say they will close in the next 12 months if Christmas is below average, a new survey suggests.
A poll of senior decision makers at small and medium-sized businesses showed that 22 per cent of them thought they would close within a year of a poor Christmas.
Meanwhile, eight per cent said this could happen within a matter of weeks.
The vital Christmas period is seen as a bellwether of performance for the UK retail industry, with several larger chains also relying heavily on sales over the festive period to prop up their top and bottom lines.
- Almost 6000 shops closed down by major retail chains this year
- 2870 stores shut down in first half of 2019
- “Desperate” quarter sees UK retail health drop below historic lows
The survey from Notonthehighstreet raises the possibility of more bankruptcies in 2020, after several well-known high street brands closed their doors this year.
“It’s clear that many smaller businesses are heavily reliant on the Christmas trading period and a below average Christmas could put them in a precarious situation when it comes to the long term viability of their company,” Notonthehighstreet chief executive Claire Davenport said.
She added that the figures showed what might happen if Christmas was below average, but said the “impact of a very poor Christmas could be far more severe”.
Meanwhile, a separate poll of 2000 people found that although 85 per cent of shoppers say they support local business, a third have not bought anything from a small business in the last six months.
On the other hand, 11 per cent reported not buying anything in the last year from smaller firms.
Just 26p in every pound is expected to be spent in small establishments this Christmas, with corporations and chains taking the lion’s share of the seasonal shopping.
“The research figures show that whilst Brits love to shop with small businesses and believe they support them, they aren’t quite putting their money where their mouth is,” Davenport said.
With PA Wires