Retailers hold their breath on rents, rates and re-opening
Responding to the latest ONS Retail Sales Index figures, which showed an 8.4% increase in overall sales (retail sales excluding fuel: J3L2), Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said:
“October’s sales growth will seem a distant memory for many retailers as ‘non-essential’ shops remain locked down for the second week. AV equipment, electrical appliances and household goods retailers all showed strong growth, while clothing and footwear stores continued to see decline.
“Retailers are now holding their breath on the government’s plans for rents, rates and re-opening. With shops closed for November, many will struggle to pay rents from 1st January, when the moratorium ends, and it is essential that government extends this to allow for successful negotiations between retailers and landlords. The Treasury must also address the incoming business rates burden to avoid burying retailers under an £8bn bill from 2021. However, the most important issue is to ensure all shops can reopen from the start of December as the all-important Christmas shopping period gets into full swing. Retailers have spent hundreds of millions on safety measures to protect colleagues and customers, and they stand prepared for reopening.”