A campaign group backed by major names in fashion and retail is calling for a ‘shop out to help out’ scheme to aid independent shops out of lockdown.
The proposal is for the government to cover 50% of the cost of goods at independent retailers, capped at £10.
#SaveTheStreet is led by Ross Bailey, chief executive and founder of online marketplace Appear Here, and counts consultant Mary Portas, beauty star Charlotte Tilbury and British Fashion Council head Caroline Rush among its supporters.
“We would be kidding ourselves to think that everything will be fine for independent retailers once they reopen on April 12.
— Appear Here (@appearhere) March 28, 2021
The retail sector represents 20% of the UK’s GDP, campaigners noted, and for every £1 spent with local independents an additional 63p of benefit is created for the local economy, compared to just 40p generated by larger national retailers.
However, one in three British high street brands are predicted to disappear this year because of the COVID-19 crisis.
The retail sector has been one of the hardest hit during the pandemic, with UK stores losing £27bn during the three lockdowns according to figures by the British Retail Consortium.
Official figures from earlier this month showed there were 3mln jobs in retail, down 67,000 year-on-year.
“Our streets are under threat,” the campaigners said.
“Repeated lockdowns, with limited support, have brought independent retailers to their knees. Behind these stores are entrepreneurs whose dreams are at stake, alongside the livelihoods that depend on them.”