Retail Association comments on disappointing festive sales figures

Independent Retailers Association says it’s cautious following today’s Spring Budget

The British Independent Retailers Association has said the forecast for the future from today’s Spring Budget announcement looks brighter – but warns that businesses still are in for a rough few months ahead.

BIRA, which works with over 6,000 independent businesses of all sizes across the UK, said they hope today’s forecast for the future helps improve customer confidence and will drive economic growth.

Andrew Goodacre, CEO of BIRA said: “The Chancellor was upbeat about the economy in that we are likely to avoid a recession and forecast growth is better than expected. We wanted to hear about plans for growth and we were told about new investment zones, increased capital tax allowances for business investment and £200M in local regeneration.

“These are positive measures but long term are not necessarily addressing the challenges faced by businesses on the high street today.

“We hope that the better economic forecasts, and more people returning to work will improve consumer confidence – often the key driver for high street economic growth. Unfortunately though there was nothing to ease the fears of indie retailers dealing with the pressures of today.

“The pressures of inflation, high energy costs and energy support set to reduce by 95% in April, and wages set to increase by 9% in April. This budget may improve consumer confidence, but it does little to boost the confidence of businesses on the high streets throughout the UK,” he added.