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20 May 2024

Cycling UK has launched the Inclusive Cycling Experience, a new programme funded by the Motability Foundation, to support disabled communities in Greater Manchester and Inverness to start...

20 May 2024

ACT member Mapes of Millport, a bike shop on Cumbrae, an island in the lower Firth of Clyde in western Scotland, is riding high after being selected as the best cycle hire shop in...

20 May 2024

People who cycle to work are less likely to be prescribed drugs to treat anxiety or depression than those who commute using different modes of transport, new research shows.

20 May 2024

The cycling industry may have experienced one of its most turbulent periods in recent history, but it still represents a great opportunity for investment, according to a report...

20 May 2024

The Sustrans Walking and Cycling Index, the biggest UK survey of walking, wheeling and cycling, found only 40% of residents on low incomes had access to a cycle. This compared to 59% in...

9 May 2024

John Lewis, the UK’s largest department store, will stock the UK’s leading e-bike brand, VOLT from today. The retailer will have four models from VOLT’s award-winning range of...

8 May 2024

Hundreds of independent bike shops around the country got involved with this year’s Local Bike Shop Day, according to organisers, the Association of Cycle Traders

8 May 2024

UK consumer confidence improved by two points in April, new data has shown, as optimism about personal finances for the coming year remained stable.

8 May 2024

More than 400 children and adults have cycled through Brighton and Hove to ask for the streets to be made safe for cycling with a network of separated cycle lanes.

7 May 2024

The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) has criticised the UK government for a “shocking lack of progress in making streets more attractive for walking, wheeling and...

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Independent shops better than big retailers at surviving COVID in the UK

Posted on in Business News , Cycles News

Small shops have been more "agile" at fighting COVID sale slumps than chain stores, according to a new report.

Parked cycles

While independent firms suffered a net decline of 1,833 shops in the first half of 2020, chain stores lost a staggering 6,001 units following the first UK lockdown. Overall shop vacancies increased at the fastest rate since records began in 2013, reaching 13%, according to research by the Local Data Company (LDA).

But the closure trend has seen independent businesses more resilient than larger retailers. Independent shops lost 0.54% of occupied units compared with the 2.77% lost by chains.

Government support initiatives such as furlough, business rate relief and suspension of tenant evictions helped independents weather the pandemic storm. They were also faster to adapt than chain operators, quickly switching to takeaway food and drink services and online selling.

By comparison many high street chains such as Victoria's Secrets, Cath Kidston, Debenhams and Harvey’s furniture have collapsed into administration this year with the closure of thousands of stores.

LDA surveyed every high street, retail park and shopping centre for the report, including more than 400,000 independent stores, between January and August 2020.

Their data reveals some 20,019 closures of independent shops and 18,186 openings compared with 11,120 chain-store closures and just 5,119 openings. The UK has seen a net decrease of 7,834 shops with the largest proportion amongst chain retailers.

Independent service retail was the only sector to experience net growth with a slight 0.1% increase compared to a 1.9% decrease in service units run by large retailers.

Lucy Stainton, head of LDC retail and strategic partnerships said: "The independent market has seemingly fared better as these businesses have been able to be more agile, bringing in new products lines and offering food deliveries; have a smaller cost base to cover during periods of little or no trade and have been able to take advantage of government support schemes."

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