The British High Street, once the central hub of any town or local area, is experiencing a decline, with recent figures showing vacancy rates at 14.1%, with the impact significantly tougher for small independent businesses.
On the 7th of December, Britain will have its first Small Business Saturday, the first of its kind on British soil. The idea stems from a US initiative to promote small retailers. It is an initiative which aims to encourage communities to shop locally and support small businesses, not just on the day itself, but beyond. Last year, it helped to raise spending by $5.5 Billion and resulted in one of the most hectic shopping days of the calendar year – they must be doing something right.
We at ASC are supporting the scheme. It can go a long way in drumming up support for local retailers, and raising their profiles amongst their local communities. And in this tough economic climate, these businesses need our support.
However, whilst the initiative offers a timely boost to retailers, they need even more support from our Government. Some local councils charge ridiculous parking fees, and charge high rates for businesses, and we at ASC see many small retailers who approach us for finance because their local banks aren’t willing to lend. And that’s not even touching on levels of unnecessary red-tape.
So we welcome the scheme and hope it is the start of increased support for independent retailers – after all they are vital to supporting the local economy, and preserving the charm of the British High Street.