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INDUSTRY COMMENT


“CLEAR ACTION IS NEEDED” A


The British Independent Retailers Association lays out key priorities for independent retailers ahead of the General Election.


t 5pm on April 19, 2017, MPs approved Theresa May’s decision to call a snap election on June 8, by a majority


of 509 votes. With this in mind, the British Independent Retailers Association (BIRA) looks forward to all parties setting out their manifesto pledges in the days to come, and hopes that all parties pledge their support for the independent retailer. It was a comfort to the sector when the Department for Communities and Local Government Minister Marcus Jones said that the UK needed,


“thriving high


strong independent retailers and local economies that match the exceptional growth that UK plc has experienced since 2010”. However, this needs to be followed up with clear action if small businesses are to support the current administration through this election. We believe business rates are fundamentally independent


retailers,


political parties should commit to implementing a business rates


READER’S LETTER LOOK AND LEARN


Kennedys Mica Hardware director John Horwood casts an eye over B&Q’s new North London high street venture.


I


’ve just been reading DIY Week 31st March,


2017, what they are worth.


I have said in the past that ‘when the sheds do their own ‘Tesco Express’ we need to wake up. Now that it has happened, everyone in our industry, who can spend an ‘away day’ in London, especially Holloway Road in London, should do so NOW, with their camera phones in meltdown.


12 DIY WEEK 28 APRIL 2017 and


B&Q on the high street, and here are my thoughts, for


How good is the external appearance and fascia? What is the store layout? What is the fixturing? What is the layout of the shelving? What is stocked? What are the prices? What is the category management? What will change after two weeks of trading, after the number crunchers have put their thoughts in? How good is the staff training? These are some of the questions to ask, especially if you have a 3,000sq ft store.


be higher than independents feel that


I would guess that pricing will they can justify, so it will


prove us wrong.


threshold. This would not only benefit businesses but would also mean that the Government would not have to spend valuable time rolling out schemes like the £300million discretionary fund, which will have minimal effect overall.


streets,


It will also be important for the political parties to commit to a serious review regarding parking. Of course, BIRA is pleased that the DCLG supported the Private Member’s Bill by Conservative MP David Tredinnick to make it easier for English Councils to lower parking charges at short notice and that the Council will only be able to increase the fees after


consultation. However,


unjust for and that


this did not deal with the more strategic issues around how better implementation of parking provision could also help increase footfall for local businesses. We do not believe that the minimum wage and living wage rates should be used as a bargaining tool to gain votes at the expense of hard working entrepreneurs and independent businesses. We will therefore encourage all parties to


BIRA hopes party manifestos will pledge their support to the independent retailer


allow the Low Pay Commission to lead an independent process of setting wage rates so that workers are rewarded for their endeavours and that businesses can continue to succeed and provide the jobs that people need. Finally, BIRA wants to impress on all political parties that stability for this sector is needed. After all,


whilst the retail sector currently accounts for 5.7% of gross domestic product, this is not guaranteed to continue in the future unless an incoming Government helps ensure that Britain will not be hit with a stalling economy, rising prices and a weak pound sterling, by doing all they can to help businesses and entrepreneurs thrive.


BUT do not see it as a threat but as an opportunity to learn and improve our own store, at another’s expense. Go – Look –Learn – Copy How does Kennedys Mica Hardware compare, are we good


enough – NO – how can we improve? I know we are 100 miles away BUT, they are coming NOW, so do we act NOW or give up?” John Horwood, Kennedys Mica Hardware, Rubery.


www.diyweek.net


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