After what the Chancellor has labelled a fundamental alteration to our way of lives, the Budget announcement has signalled for the retail industry that reduced business rates will be extended until the end of June, with a staggered recovery beyond the end of the year. Furthermore, the offering of Restart Grants will provide funds of up to £6,000 to retail premises to help them get back on their feet upon reopening.
In response to these announcements, leading SMEs within the sector have responded to how the respective announcements effect their trading.
Mat Megens, founder of money management app HyperJar, has commented on the need for injections of capital into SMEs, something the Chancellor has alluded to through the super deduction scheme.
“As the Chancellor of the Exchequer announces grants of up to £6000 for non essential retail and up to £18,000 for hospitality, recovery loan schemes and the extension of the business rates holiday, it’s looking hopeful for businesses who are able to reopen after what has been one of the most challenging years to date.
“Supporting our local businesses and SMEs is of paramount importance, not only to save the economy but to preserve the UK’s culture. For every £100 spent in local shops, around £65 of it finds its way back into the community; these SMEs donate a higher percentage of revenue to community groups, charities, and sports clubs than national chains; local businesses generally contribute less to sprawl, congestion, pollution and habitat loss.”
Will Broome, CEO of Ubamarket, publisher of retail-tech app Ubamarket, has commented on the increase of contactless payments of £100.00: “The Chancellor has correctly recognised that the circumstances brought about by Covid-19 has called for a new way of doing things. Our research clearly shows that the Coronavirus pandemic has completely transformed both retailer and consumer behaviour- in particular when it comes to purchasing their goods.
“The pandemic has raised huge questions around hygiene and safety, with particular concerns around consumer confidence. This fluctuation in shopping habits has further highlighted a number of pre-existing problems with the shopping experience in Britain, with a huge proportion of Brits now feeling that their shopping experience is outdated. Now, the question facing businesses is not ‘when will things go back to normal’ but rather ‘how can we adapt to succeed and serve customers in a post-COVID world?
“Retail tech such as Ubamarket will help supermarkets, stores, bars and restaurants to do just that, by doing away with the need for time-consuming queues, unhygienic checkouts, complicated store layouts and confusion about where products are and whether they are in stock. Paying for your shopping in-app will drastically reduce your exposure to potentially dangerous interactions as there is no need to stand in queues or use the tills. Ultimately, if retailers are willing to implement retail technology, we could make the weekly shop far more safe and hygienic for everybody in the UK.”