A number of the UK’s retailers, including those from the fashion industry, have signed an open letter asking the Government to implement a ‘shop out to help out’ scheme when stores are allowed to reopen next month.
The Save the Street campaign is predicated on the claim that one in three UK brands are set to disappear this year in the wake of the pandemic.
The campaign’s organisers have penned an open letter about the issue which has been signed by senior leadership staff from companies like Boxpark, Dazed Media, the British Fashion Council and the British Independent Retailers Association (BIRA).
Becky Jones, head of partnerships at Appear Here, told Professional Jeweller that the campaign was launched in December, between England’s second and third lockdowns.
“The campaign was launched by Appear Here,” she said, “the leading marketplace for retail space, after a huge number of the 100,000-plus independent retailers in our community reached out to ask for help.
“Many had been hit incredibly hard by the pandemic but received very little support; they felt abandoned. We pulled together some of retail’s biggest names to give independents a collective voice and push the government to do more to support them.
“The campaign has the backing of Mary Portas, Charlotte Tilbury, the British Fashion Council and BIRA, and is supported by thousands of independent retailers. Our initial call for an extension of business rates relief was successful, and included in the last Budget.”
She hopes that businesses will get involved by following Save the Street’s Instagram and by signing the open letter on the Save the Street website.
Read the open letter, from Appear Here founder Ross Bailey, below.
The open letter
We didn’t know how much we relied on our high street – until we didn’t have one. Lockdowns made us realise how much we need our local high streets, independent stores and the people behind them. They are not just places to simply transact in but places to create community and feel human connection.
Now they need us.
Our streets are under threat. 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.
We are calling on the government to do more to support our independent retailers – as they have done with other sectors.
The retail sector represents 20% of the UK’s GDP and it’s our independent retailers who will play a vital role in the economic recovery of local neighbourhoods. 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. But as it stands, 1 in 3 British brands are predicted to disappear this year.
Immediate action is needed, or we face a future with hollowed-out streets and no places left for communities to come together. We need new support measures in place for independent retailers after one of their toughest years.
Having successfully campaigned for the extension of business rates relief in the last Budget, we’re now asking the government to put in place an ‘Eat Out To Help Out’ style incentive for independent retailers. For a year we’ve been encouraged to stay at home, while small local businesses close left, right and centre. Our suggestion is a ‘Shop Out To Help Out’ scheme, which would see the government cover 50% of the cost of goods at independent retailers, capped at £10.
As a nation, we need to protect our streets. They are world-class. They have been the birthplace of cultural movements and supported generation after generation of entrepreneurs. They are the key to our economic recovery, as well as the fabric that weaves our cities and cultures together.
We must act now to #SaveTheStreet.