More stores hit crisis point during coronavirus crisis

Ian Carrotte: more Government help needed for the crisis on the High Street as retailers struggle during the great coronavirus emergency

If the High Street was feeling ill before this year then the coronavirus crisis has sent it into A&E. Shops are closing, workers are being sent home and supermarkets are rationing essentials as panic buying has led to shortages.

But the biggest problem is footfall as consumers increasingly shop online and with the current health emergency that has increased. The Government has announced measures to help business in general with some specific plans for retailers just as H&M and Debenhams have called for a rent holiday while Cycle Republic, Laura Ashley, Carphone Warehouse and Mountain Warehouse have all hit the buffers this month leaving suppliers unpaid and around more than 8,000 people potentially unemployed.

The £330bn state-backed loans for all businesses through the banking system with the help of the Bank of England are after all only loans that being made to retailers already in debt. A freeze on business rates, rent and taxes would be welcomed said Ian Carrotte of ICSM Credit.

“We welcome the offer of interest free loans,” said Ian Carrotte, “but things are moving so fast we need more help for retailers and the hospitality, events, travel and holiday industries.”

A veteran of four recessions and five decades of working in industry Ian Carrotte said the chancellor’s numbers given in the budget just a week ago were out of date.

Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium, said:

“Business rates are a huge burden for retailers at the best of times. The business rates holiday, together with the announcement of a loan package, represent a vital shot in the arm for a sector facing enormous uncertainty. We still need to see the details and make sure that retailers can access cash with the minimum of delay, but it is a welcome and necessary first step to protect jobs.” 

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