Independent Retailers Association warns High Street is ‘fragile’

The British Independent Retailers Association has said that news of big retailers such as TK Maxx exiting the high street are leaving it ‘fragile’.

Bira, which works with over 6,000 independent businesses of all sizes across the UK, has said that the cost of living crisis, along with the impact of covid and soaring energy costs are continuing to crush the high street even further.

Figures released by the Centre for Retail Research have shown that almost 50 shops are closing a day, however, the larger stores are now starting to also exit, including Paperchase, House of Fraser, New Look, and TK Maxx.

Bira CEO Andrew Goodacre said: “The recent announcements of store closures by large retailers and hospitality businesses is further indication that the high street is a fragile place for businesses at the moment.

“Low footfall, train strikes, and cost of living are all impacting on the high streets, especially in the large city centres and shopping centres. It is not unusual for large businesses to review their estate, close down unprofitable sites and focus on the remaining shops. However, for the smaller independent, who most only own one shop, these difficult economic conditions may mean the end of the business and that business owner’s livelihood,” he said.

Mr. Goodacre added: “These closures, and the report of record closures last year, should compel the Chancellor to use the Spring statement in March to focus on economic growth, especially in the high streets around the UK. The inflationary pressures were never driven by consumer demand and are now falling away. This will give the government more flexibility to support independent businesses that play such a vital part in local communities.”

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