25,000 Shops Close
The Local Data Company recently revealed that, of a survey of 251,462 firms across more than 705 towns across the UK, 25,090 closed their doors in the nine months to September 30th 2009. In London alone, 7,628 retailers closed down in the nine-month period.
The survey revealed that 9.3% of retailers in the DIY, hardware, houseware and builder's merchants sector had closed, while 13.2% of furniture, carpets, textiles, bathrooms and kitchen retailers also shut their doors. Florists and garden retailers were also quite badly hit, with 11.2% shutting up shop in the first nine months of the year.
The BPF is asking the government to offer greater help to support retailers, and is leading a charge to cut service charge costs for businesses, as well as making business leases more transparent.
Many retailers, like landlords, also have empty space they cannot re-let because of the recession and yet the government is continuing to hit these firms with empty property rates.
Meanwhile, a planned business rates hike will see many companies facing massively increased bills from April 2010 because the rates have been reassessed based on property values on April 1st 2008. Retailers pay a quarter of all business rates, despite being responsible for just 8% of GDP.
BPF chief executive commented: "Business secretary Lord Mandelson said the government's empty property tax was 'good for business'. But if charging a hardship tax on firms' vacancies is the government's idea of helping businesses then I'd hate to see him helping an old lady across the road.
Clearly no one is escaping the recession and it's vital that ministers offer real help to businesses through a sensible mitigation of the impact of next year's rise in business rates and a cut in empty property rates."
Here at Greengates Builders Merchants, Lancashire we hope businesses continue to get by over the winter months which can be hard for most and we hope we are all out of this recession very shortly.