Speaking out for many independent cookshop and housewares stockists in England, The British Independent Retailers’ Association’s (Bira’s) ceo Andrew Goodacre comments: ” We are delighted that shops can re-open from December 3, and are also unaffected by the new tier system.” This follows PM Boris Johnson’s statement to the House of Commons yesterday (Monday, November 23).
Many cookshops are among the ‘non-essential’ retailers that have been shut from November 5 for England’s second lockdown, although hardware stockists and garden centres have remained open.
“We are receiving more notice than we thought as we actually expected confirmation on Thursday. Retailers will be ready and we hope that the town centres and local authorities will also have prepared to accommodate shoppers,” Andrew continued.
Andrew recgonises that many business – including cookshops – have continued (and adapted) to do business online and via click and collect, but emphasises: “December will be all about selling Christmas goods, and retailers will have to work hard and be creative to attract shoppers.”
Bira is also campaigning for further support for independent retailers. “Cash is running out and more grants will be needed in January,” said Andrew. “We need clarity on business rates and the decision to extend the rates holiday for non-essential businesses. We need funds and expertise to help indie retailers to continue their transition to a stronger digital footprint.”
Reflecting reports that transmission rates are far higher in the home rather than in highly controlled, frequently sanitised, well-ventilated environments such as cookshops, Andrew states: “We also need to realise that shopping is safe and no need to close shops even if there is a third lockdown.”
Top: The Kitchen Range West Wickham is currently shut but spreading some cheer for its local customers by unveiling its Christmas window display.