Calls for “Shop Out to Help Out” scheme to boost post-lockdown sales

Campaigners call for
Independent retailers classed as "non-essential" have been prohibited from physical trade for three quarters of the last year, missing out on crucial pre-Christmas and Easter trade.
// Save The Street group calls for Eat Out to Help Out-like scheme but for independent retailers
// They want Treasury to offer customers 50% off the cost of goods at independent retailers up to a price of £10
// The scheme could run for one month this summer with discounts available to shoppers Mon-Wed only

Retail campaigners are calling for an Eat Out to Help Out-style scheme to boost the tills of beleaguered independent retailers after they finally reopen on April 12 in England and Wales.

The campaign group Save The Street, backed by figures including retail expert Mary Portas and beauty entrepreneur Charlotte Tilbury, have called on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to support the sector by offering customers 50 per cent off the cost of goods at independent retailers up to a price of £10.

They suggest such a scheme could run for one month this summer with discounts available to shoppers from Monday to Wednesday only, and limited to independent enterprises with fewer than 10 employees that sell through physical stores.


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Like the Eat Out to Help Out restaurant scheme of August last year, the government would reimburse retailers for the discount, with customers only able to use it once per transaction.

Save The Street said Treasury could levy a sales tax on online retailers or draw on the £1.8 billion in business rates relief which has been returned by supermarkets to cover the cost of the scheme.

Independent retailers classed as “non-essential” have been prohibited from physical trade for three quarters of the last year, missing out on crucial pre-Christmas and Easter trade.

UK stores are now down £27 billion in lost sales during the three English lockdowns and related closures in the other nations, according to BRC figures, with 67,000 retail jobs lost between December 2019 and 2020.

“We would be kidding ourselves to think that everything will be fine for independent retailers once they reopen on April 12,” said Ross Bailey, Save The Street founder and retail technology entrepreneur.

“The damage has been done over the last 12 months, now it is the government’s responsibility to support these businesses and ensure they are given a fighting chance to bounce back.

“Independent retail is the heart and soul of communities across the UK. If the Government doesn’t support them now, it won’t just bankrupt thousands of businesses, it will irrevocably damage the society we all live in.”

Portas said: “Covid-19 has chipped away at the brilliant diversity of our high streets up and down our country.

“We need to act now and harness the support, need and love that people have for our high streets. These local businesses during the pandemic have held our communities together.

“A scheme like this will bring a vital lease of life back to the places that mean so much to us all.”

British Independent Retailers Association chief executive Andrew Goodacre said: “We know the Eat Out to Help Out scheme really brought customers back to hospitality venues last summer, and we are sure that a similar initiative for retail would have the same effect.

“Much of retail has borne the brunt of this pandemic and this scheme would help give a much-needed boost to high streets and consumer confidence.”

with PA Wires

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Why do all sectors keep treating the Treasury as the ‘bank of mum & dad’? Surely it doesn’t have bottomless pockets or a license to print money? There is already a tax for nearly everything we make, buy, sell, earn, do and I have concerns that not only will they increase but that we will be hit with all manner of new nonsensical taxes from the minute we swing our legs out of bed in the morning in an attempt to refill the coffers! Supporting shaky businesses by bailing them out with tax-payers money will be the eventual ruin of the average working population. Or am I being naive?

  2. Great look how well the eat out to help out went…increased infection rates,a 2nd wave.People need to give up on the consumerist cult.

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