Subscriber login Close [x]
remember me
You are not logged in.

High street restrictions could have dire consequences for small business this Christmas

Published:  10 December, 2020

Local shops and businesses are on a ‘cliff edge’, with one in 10 facing permanent closure without a successful Christmas trading period.

This is the sobering conclusion of a new report from small business insurer Simply Business.

The report, which covers local businesses of all types, including shops, bars, pubs and cafes, found that businesses expect to take on average £2,164 less than usual this festive season. Almost one in 10 (9%) expect to take between £3,000-£5,000 less.

The Christmas period is hugely important to small businesses. For most, this time of the year usually accounts for 28% of annual takings.

However, the most recent national lockdown has left many local business owners feeling underprepared. 

“Small business owners have been hit harder than most in this most challenging of years,” Alan Thomas, UK CEO of Simply Business, said. “The impact Covid-19 has had on their livelihoods and wellbeing is huge, and December is shaping up to be another difficult month. 

“For many small businesses, the festive period is crucial to their annual takings – and with the frightening prospect of a quieter-than-usual December, one in 10 are on a cliff edge with permanent closure a real possibility.”

He continued: “As we’ve seen on countless occasions throughout Covid-19, the self-employed are resilient, resourceful and innovative, and it’s encouraging to see many adapt their offering to help their chances – from offering takeaway services, to building online stores. But it’s clear that these steps can only go so far, and our research shows that success will be heavily linked to local restrictions.”

This week, Lloyds Bank released a report that called for a more tailored form of regional support in order to ensure the future economic growth of the UK.

This support needs to be shaped by local voices for local economies, António Horta-Osório, chief executive of the bank said, if the regional, racial and socio-economic inequalities perpetuated by Covid are going to be addressed. 

Thomas at Simply Business added that small businesses are the “backbone of Britain”, and issued a plea for shoppers to provide local businesses such as independent wine merchants with “crucial support”.

For those even in the highest level of restrictions, customers can support local operators by using take-away services and online services. Safe delivery options can also go a long way in supporting the self-employed.

Simply Business took their findings from 230 local shop and business owners for the report. These include small businesses such as hairdressers and beauticians, but focus mainly on food and drinks vendors such as pubs and bars, cafes, coffee shops and market stall owners.