A month after the non-essential retail store reopened, low shopper numbers raise concerns that UK Main Street is taking too long to recover.
Campaign group Save The Street says action is needed now to encourage consumers to support their local businesses or that it will be too late for many independent retailers.
The latest data from Springboard showed that two weeks after non-essential stores reopened, visitor numbers to major UK street destinations were down 6.1% from the previous seven-day period.
Compared to the same week in 2019 before the pandemic, all retail numbers were down 26%.
In a straw survey by retail space platform Appear Here and Save The Street, 48% of retailers said they had been disappointed with the footfall since it reopened on April 12th.
More than a quarter (26%) said they don’t believe their business would survive unless buyer numbers recover to pre-pandemic levels.
Despite the gradual opening of the economy, the vast majority (77%) continued to support a shop-out-to-help-out program.
Ross Bailey, CEO of Appear Here and Founder of Save The Street, proposed a small store incentive scheme similar to last year’s Eat Out To Help Out initiative for the hospitality industry.
The proposal calls for the government to cover 50% of the cost of buying by the public from independent retailers, which are capped at £ 10.
If the footprint does not fully recover, 1 in 6 (16%) retailers estimate they can only stay afloat between 1 and 3 months.
For every £ 1 spent on independent businesses that add 63p in added value to their local economy – compared to just 40p generated by large corporations – Save The Street is asking the Chancellor to revise their stimulus proposal to consider and do everything possible to save the vulnerable independent businesses that are the beating heart of local communities in the UK.