Retail militants are calling for an Eat-Out-to-Help-Out program to bolster the coffers of beleaguered independent stores as they finally reopen.
Campaign group Save The Street, backed by figures like retail expert Mary Portas and beauty entrepreneur Charlotte Tilbury, has called on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to support the sector by offering customers at independent retailers 50% off the cost of goods up to one Price of £ 10 offers.
They suggest that such a program could run for a month this summer, with discounts only available to buyers Monday through Wednesday, limited to independent businesses with fewer than 10 employees selling through physical stores.
Like the August 2020 Eat Out to Help Out restaurant program, the government would reimburse retailers for the discount, with customers only being able to use it once per transaction.
According to Save The Street, the Treasury Department could levy sales tax on online retailers or use the £ 1.8 billion retail tariff relief returned by supermarkets to help cover the cost of the system.
Independent retailers rated “non-material” have been banned from physical trading for three quarters of last year because they missed the crucial trade before Christmas and Easter.
According to the British Retail Consortium, UK stores fell by £ 27 billion in lost sales during the three UK lockdowns and associated closings in the rest of the world. 67,000 retail jobs were lost between December 2019 and 2020.
Ross Bailey, retail tech entrepreneur and founder of Save The Street, said, “We’d make fun of the fact that everything will be fine for independent retailers after they reopen on April 12th.
“The damage has been done in the past 12 months. Now it is the government’s responsibility to support these companies and ensure they are given a chance to recover.
“Independent retail is the heart and soul of communities across the UK. If the government does not support them now, it will not only bankrupt thousands of businesses, but will irreversibly damage the society we all live in. “
Ms. Portas said: “Covid-19 has turned the brilliant diversity of our main roads in our country on its head.
“We must act now and use the support, need and love that people have for our main roads. These local businesses during the pandemic have held our communities together. Such a program will restore vitality to the places that mean so much to all of us. “
Andrew Goodacre, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the British Independent Retailers Association (Bira) said, “We know the Eat Out to Help Out program really brought customers back to pubs last summer, and we are sure that a similar initiative has been launched for the Retail would have the same effect.
“Much of the retail sector has borne the brunt of this pandemic and this program would help build major highways and consumer confidence, a lot.”