High street resurgence begins as non-essential retail reopens

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David Hannah, principal consultant at Cornerstone Tax, discusses this important milestone for British businesses

Today marks an important step for Lockdown Britain and the resilient business owners throughout the country, as non-essential retail can open their doors and hospitality venues can serve outdoors. The FSB reports that almost six in 10 (58%) small businesses have said that they expect their performance to improve this quarter, the highest proportion since the summer of 2015.

This is to be expected, as people are inevitably keen to get out and shop; but where the pounds will be heading specifically is even more welcome news for small businesses and their resilient founders. Data from Cornerstone Tax, property tax experts working with small businesses, shows that nearly 28 million Brits want to support their independent, local businesses, and over 13% have started or want to start their own.

LDC (Local Data Company) and Barclaycard back this shift in consumer sentiments. LDC highlights that 11,000 stores closed during the Pandemic, however only 1442 of them were independents; the vast majority being chains. Furthermore, Barclaycard has released data that shows pounds have been heading towards local, independent traders. Specialist food and drink stores –including traditional butchers and bakeries – saw an overall uplift of 28.6% year-on-year.

This is welcome news for the resilient entrepreneurs that have survived the Pandemic, and the future of high streets throughout the UK as a generation are inspired to start their own business. Britain truly is a nation of shopkeepers.

British businesses have been counting down the days – for months waiting for the 12th April so they can serve the public. Although we must all remain vigilant, this is an important milestone and a great joy to many of the small businesses I have spoken too.

Stores we know and love have gone under and our high streets are empty of shoppers, but now the lockdown restrictions are easing and a vaccine rollout of historic proportions is under the way. All the research shows that there will be a myriad of resilient founders and entrepreneurs to support, new businesses to look out for, and a British public ready to back them all – particularly those local independents so important for our communities and our economy. This truly shows we are a nation of shopkeepers.