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How is the retail sector coping?

Graham Todd reports...

Our speaker on October 8th was Howard Saycell, Chief Executive of the retail body Retra, updating us on the retail industry's view of hte impact of Covid.

Members may remember that when Howard talked to us last year he was fairly pessimistic about the whole situation. Whilst more optimistic a year on he was still sanguine in his thoughts. These thoughts were mainly based from discussions he has had on the Board of the British Retail Consortium.

The members that Howard represents had not suffered in the same way that high street clothing retailers and the hospitality industry as a whole.

He went on to other current issues. The fuel crisis, CO2 shortages, panic buying etc. It is clear that the government are now blaming everyone but themselves for the current issues. Boris is quoted as saying at the Conservative Party conference that “the economy has been mainlining on cheap foreign labour”. A lot of the food retailers are very concerned about the supply chain and believe if nothing changes soon then we will have big problems between now and Christmas.

Another topic covered was what happens at the end of March when the debt enforcement moratorium comes to an end. On Business Rates there is little change. The case has been well made that retail pays too much and we await an announcement in the budget. There are currently consultations across various government departments on new digital markets competition regulations, misleading green credential claims, international data transfers and many more.

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