ONE in five high street stores plan to close permanently, retail leaders have warned MPs.
Andrew Goodacre, of the British Independent Retailers Association, said the coronavirus crisis had meant the “worst time ever for retail”.
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Even those traders hoping to reopen when lockdown eases said the level of trade would be crucial.
He added: “If the footfall is impacted and social distancing exists and they find it hard to meet needs of customers and workers, it would be more expensive to reopen than to stay closed.”
Helen Dickinson, of the British Retail Consortium, told the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee that 69 per cent of non-food retailers have been “significantly” impacted.
She said: “There is no way that anybody is expecting demand will revert to what it was before — there will be a slow gearing back up.”
Ms Dickinson added: “I have no doubt that people will be very cautious about how they shop.”
She urged ministers not to “turn off the tap” of financial help, but to taper support as demand rises.
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