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Footwear-FEB21-P04-10 News_Footwear_Jan10_p30 22/02/2021 14:13 Page 8


NEWS BFA Update T


he BFA have been dedicated to supporting members through the uncertainty of Brexit and the Covid-19


pandemic. These have obviously been trying times for


many businesses and footwear manufacturers and retailers have faced many challenges, however the British Footwear Association firmly believe the sector is stronger together and have done their utmost to unite this wonderful industry by taking problems directly to the decision makers at Whitehall and fighting for answers and positive results.


CEO Lucy Reece-Raybould is a member of a


trade advisory body representing the footwear industry at regular meetings with government and members of the cabinet; in this role she has lobbied tirelessly for an extension to the furlough past April ’21 and further business rates relief until at least June 2021 for our retailers.


Speaking on the BFA’s lobbying work she said:


“The footwear sector’s voice through the BFA has been vital. Our manufacturers must get support with extended furlough and the rates relief extension is critical for retailers. But we are also fighting for support those in the forgotten sectors who rely on retail for sales and their business warehouse means they sit above the rates relief threshold.


“I will continue to draw government’s attention


to our sector as I passionately believe that UK footwear needs as much support as possible to keep our position as a globally respected and highly revered industry.”


Apart from its continuous work with various


government offices, the BFA has also been able to supply members with direct access to various business experts. From customs advice, to Intellectual Property law guidance we are able to support our members with any problems that may have seen arise. We are also now providing quarterly import and export reports to run alongside the monthly retail reports (a sample of


which you can see accompanying this article) to keep our members abreast of the latest footwear centred facts and figures.


The BFA continues to grow and we have


welcomed 20 new members over the past year including Penelope Chilvers, GH Warner and Schuh who will now be able to access a wealth of information including Brexit and Covid-19 guidance, industry expert support and regular webinars which are just some of the resources that are proving essential and vital for members as we move, hopefully, toward a more positive business horizon.


December 2020 Retail Report Downbeat December Crimps much of Retail Marketplace Rising infections and the national lockdown


weigh on sales and shift more Christmas holiday retail demand online


• Overall retail demand across the UK rose a modest 1.3% year-on-year.


• Despite the holidays, the lockdown kept many would-be store shoppers at home.


• Indeed, non-store retail sales soared 41.4%, the ninth straight double-digit surge.


• December’s trends mirrored the full-year trend of a growing share of pounds spent online versus in stores.


Consumer demand across the United Kingdom


rose only modestly in the final month of the year, doing little to offset a dismal 2020 for retailers. According to the Office for National Statistics, overall retail demand (including automotive fuel) across the UK expanded a tepid 1.3% year-on-year in December, less than half the average annual expansion witnessed over the last decade. Mindful of a second wave of infections and new, heightened restrictions on socializing and commerce mandated before Christmas, UK consumers generally opted to shop more from home and less on High Street, boosting non-store retail sales at the expense of most other retail sectors. Indeed, non-store retail demand surged 41.4% year-on-year in December, while most other sectors saw sales slide sharply. With many still not venturing far from home, demand for automotive fuel and discretionary purchases like textiles, clothing, and footwear led to the downside in the final month of the year.


December’s downbeat performance across the


overall retail marketplace likewise did little to support full-year trends. Retail sales (including automotive fuel) sank -2.6% in 2020, the first annual drop in more than a quarter century. But even this relatively modest change masks a stark divergence between certain retail sectors in 2020 as consumers opted to spend more time shopping online and less physically in stores. As with December’s pattern, surging non-store retail sales (up 30.3%) almost single-handedly offset steep annual declines in nearly all other retail sectors for the year. These diverging trends imply non-store retailers—typically online retailers—enjoyed a surging share of the retail pound last year, while others— particularly fuel dealers and textile, clothing, and footwear shops—saw their shares erode further.


8 • FOOTWEAR TODAY • JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2021 www.footweartoday.co.uk


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