Energy bills are biggest issue for high street firms - Mary Portas
UK retail expert Mary Portas is on the energy crisis campaign trail warning that without a thriving high street there will be a “gaping hole in our needs”.
Noting that nearly 90% of independent retailers believe they will suffer without an extension to the government’s energy support scheme beyond next March as businesses’ bills soar, Portas told The Times that an impending crisis could “cripple” indiess. She calls rising energy bills “the biggest issue that [retailers] are up against”.
Research from wholesale and supply marketplace Ankorstore found that 97% of retailers believe the government has not provided them with enough support as inflation and soaring energy bills hurt the high street.
Worryingly, 40% of those surveyed said they would close or consider closing if the government’s energy support scheme was not extended beyond March. With the autumn budget due next week, 94% of retailers urged the government to take action to support the high street.
Portas highlighted the importance of thriving high streets and towns for encouraging social interaction and fostering a local community.
In another interview with City AM when asked how she sees the high street performing this winter, she said: “I think people will buy more carefully, a bit less, but they will still spend. Inclusive pricing strategies are key. Awareness of sustainability and provenance is also more and more important so tap into that. And the other big driver at Christmas of course is joy. Retailers need to think about how they deliver that.”
She added: “It’s no longer just about price. We’ve come out of the period of the ‘race to the bottom’.”
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