A new campaign, #MakeRetailFair, backed by the British Allied Trades Federation (BATF), Giftware, Jewellery Distribution, and British Travel Goods and Leather Accessories Associations, has been launched today (November 20) by non-essential retailers to stop others exploiting lockdown loopholes through the global pandemic.
The campaign’s aim is to target authorities to challenge retailers that are taking advantage of the sale of non-essential items such as The Range, Lidl, WHSmiths and B&M Bargains.
The #MakeRetailFair campaign is the brainchild of Nicky Edmunds, owner of gift and homeware shops Insideout, based in Devon, who last weekend launched a petition which she called her ‘Cry For Help’. She said that Parliament was allowing certain retailers to capitalise on other retailers’ misfortune and described it as “discriminatory.”
She said: “It is our belief that the government has lost control of this situation and that they need to hear from us, the businesses forced to close because they are deemed non-essential. If we are kept closed while ‘essential’ retailers continue to profiteer from the sale of non-essentials, our communities will be unrecognisable in the foreseeable future. In allowing those businesses to sell non-essentials, it is encouraging people to spend with them and no-one else. It will, without doubt, break businesses like ours and in turn, rapidly empty the high street.”
After talking to Sarah Ward, managing director of the British Allied Trades Federation (BATF) and formerly chief executive of The Giftware Association (GA), the #MakeRetailFair campaign was launched.
“If we all have one voice and all work together, then we stand the highest chance of achieving a positive outcome,” states Sarah.
Andrew Goodacre, Bira’s ceo, said in a recent news release: “The guidelines say that a business must sell a significant amount of essential items to stay open and we want to see the authorities challenge the large general retailer chains (such as the Range, WH Smiths, B&M Bargains etc) on this. If you are a specialist indie retailer, you are literally seeing your products and your livelihood being sold in other non-essential shops.”
Adds Sarah: “We don’t want the government to put communities at risk by opening up all of retail and increasing the potential spread of Covid-19 if high. Instead, we want to make it fair for all businesses. If businesses that are usually deep into their busiest time of year are simply surviving instead of thriving, then the bigger retailers should be stopped from capitalising on their advantage.”
Data from indieretail.co.uk currently reveals that for every £1 spent with a local, independent business, between 50p-70p circulates back into the economy. Shopping online, or through corporates, only generates 5p back into the economy which is a cause for concern for local communities when they need this the most.
“We are excited to extend the competition for a further two weeks as it allows time for those companies who are struggling to complete entries due to other deadlines, and allows us to find brand new entrants,” explained Sarah Ward. “The quality and variety we have seen entered so far has been amazing, which can be viewed on our website blog, and we are looking forward to finding out who the judges vote for.”
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Top: #MakeRetailFair has been launched by Nicky Edmunds, (left), who owns two InsideOut gift and homewares stores in Devon. She is shown with her husband Paul, co-owner of the business, and their children.