Independents plan price increases and staff cuts ahead of energy price hike
Independent retailers feel they will have no other option than to raise prices to shoppers once the energy price jump comes into effect this autumn.
A survey by the British Independent Retailers Association found that 88% of its members are “preparing for the worst”.
Furthermore, 65% of those questioned said they would be forced to reduce their staff numbers or wages, while 40% would consider limiting opening hours.
In addition, almost 23% said they would be looking to permanently or temporarily close their business.
Andrew Goodacre, BIRA’s chief executive, said: “Businesses are under great pressure at the moment and with some concerned that they need to reduce hours or even close permanently is incredibly worrying for us and the local economy.
“There has been no specific help coming through from central or local authorities to help businesses who are struggling with their bills which has been very disappointing. While some areas may have hardship funds or slight reductions in business rates, this is not seen across the country. It is clear to us that businesses are being targeted by energy providers to make up for any restricted price caps on consumers.”
BIRA also said that while business rate relief would be welcome, small businesses would still be paying 100% more this year compared to last year.
Goodacre added: “We asked the government not to do this because as long ago as last October as we were seeing huge increases in retailer energy bills. More recently it has been 500% and keeping rates lower would have helped indie retailers absorb the higher energy costs. They will certainly need help as the rates for electric are increasing daily and we have just been told that one provider is charging 94p per KWH for electric – the highest we have seen so far.”
BIRA has written an open letter to the two Conservative party leadership candidates, Rishi Sunak and Lizz Truss, to urge them to take action.