Retail campaigners are calling for an Eat Out to Help Out-style scheme to boost the tills of beleaguered independent retailers after they finally reopen on April 12 in England and Wales. The campaign group Save The Street, backed by figures including retail expert Mary Portas and beauty entrepreneur Charlotte Tilbury, have called on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to support the sector by offering customers 50 per cent off the cost of goods at independent retailers up to a price of £10. They suggest such a scheme could run for one month this summer with discounts available to shoppers from Monday to Wednesday only, and limited to independent enterprises with fewer than 10 employees that sell through physical stores.
Like the Eat Out to Help Out restaurant scheme of August last year, the government would reimburse retailers for the discount, with customers only able to use it once per transaction.
Save The Street said Treasury could levy a sales tax on online retailers or draw on the £1.8 billion in business rates relief which has been returned by supermarkets to cover the cost of the scheme.
Independent retailers classed as “non-essential” have been prohibited from physical trade for three quarters of the last year, missing out on crucial pre-Christmas and Easter trade.
UK stores are now down £27 billion in lost sales during the three English lockdowns and related closures in the other nations, according to BRC figures, with 67,000 retail jobs lost between December 2019 and 2020.
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