Written by: Keith Tully
A campaign group is calling for the government to create a ‘Shop Out to Help Out’ scheme to provide a financial boost for independent stores.
Most independent stores have been obliged to remain closed to customers for much of the past 18 months but should be able to reopen in England from April 12.
The campaign group is called Save The Street and wants to see a government-backed scheme being used to incentivise shoppers to get out and spend their money on the high street.
The ‘Shop Out to Help Out’ slogan idea is being pushed to associate it with the ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme which allowed registered restaurants to offer 50 per cent discounts to customers who ate in during late summer 2020.
Ross Bailey, a retail entrepreneur, is leading the Save The Street campaign and has so far garnered support for his ideas from the likes of fashion designer Henry Holland and the famous retail consultant Mary Portas.
Mr Bailey has sought to emphasise the importance of government support for independent retailers who he describes as being the “heart and soul of communities across the UK”.
“If the government doesn’t support them now, it won’t just bankrupt thousands of businesses, it will irrevocably damage the society we live in,” he said.
“We need to act now and harness the support, need and love that people have for our high streets. These local businesses during the pandemic have held our communities together.”
Andrew Goodacre, chief executive of the British Independent Retailers Association, has backed the idea of having the government create a ‘Shop Out to Help Out’ scheme and suggested it could be a real success.
“We know the Eat Out to Help Out scheme really brought customers back to hospitality venues last summer, and we are sure that a similar initiative for retail would have the same effect,” Mr Goodacre has said.
“Much of retail has borne the brunt of this pandemic and this scheme would help give a much-needed boost to high streets and consumer confidence,” he added.
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