UK’s independent stores record first rise in four years

UK’s independent stores record first rise in four years

Due to 5,251 chain stores closing during the first half of 2021. Many independent retail stores have decided to fill the gaps left resulting in the first rise in independent stores for the first time in four years.

A new total of 804 independent retail stores opened during the first half of 2021 according to data from the Local Data Company (LDC), including:

  • Barbers
  • Bakers
  • Cafes
  • Convenience stores
  • Fast-food outlets

The LDC said that independent stores were able to benefit from government support schemes, enabling them to remain open to take advantage of cheaper rent deals from landlords as many wanted to encourage tenants into their vacant premises quickly and mitigate rates liabilities. By the end of 2021, it is expected that an additional 10,549 stores will become vacant and landlords will be hoping that small business owners will step in to help fill these vacancies. Failing that, landlords may have to be prepared to consider redevelopment or conversion of their commercial properties for alternative purposes.

Approximately half of Topshop’s stores have been let to independent retailers when they exited the high street at the beginning of the year. Furthermore, it has been reported that independent retailers are benefitting from customers becoming increasingly concerned about sustainability, the origin of products, and supporting local businesses.

However, retailers are being warned that the true impact of the pandemic may not be felt until March 2022 when the moratorium on evictions is lifted on commercial properties.

 

How can we help?

Hawsons has a dedicated team of specialist retail, wholesale, and e-commerce accountants in Sheffield, Doncaster, and Northampton.

Our specialist team offers a wide range of services that are tailored to meet your individual needs. Our understanding of the issues faced by the retail, wholesale, and e-commerce sector means that we can proactively seek out ways for you to maximise your profitability and minimise your tax liabilities.

Free initial meeting

Pete Wilmer, Corporate Finance Partner

Pete Wilmer

Corporate Finance Partner

0114 266 7141

[email protected]

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Charity Skydive with Hawsons

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Hawsons continue to support and fundraise for local charities as Aimee Smith and Dalia Qarawi threw themselves out of their comfort zones for the Paediatrics Department at Northampton General Hospital. The charity skydive took place on 19 September 2021 at the Hinton Airfield, where the pair descended 13,000ft.

Aimee said, “This was the opportunity of a lifetime, I haven’t stopped speaking about it since the day. I loved every second, from the freefall to taking in all of my surroundings once the parachute was pulled, to the support I felt from the Northamptonshire Health Charity, family, and work colleagues who came to cheer us on on the day!”

Dalia and Aimee felt the experience was incredible and doubled their fundraising target on their Just Giving page.

Dalia said, “The skydive was something I’d never of chosen to do myself, but I am so glad I threw myself in at the deep end, to be able to say you have jumped 13,000ft out of a plane is something I never thought I’d be able to do. You didn’t even have time to think about what was going to happen until it did, which was all the more exciting!”

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Government plans to create additional 50,000 lorry tests

Government plans to create additional 50,000 lorry tests

On 10th September the government announced plans of how they will create an additional 50,000 lorry tests to tackle the current HGV driver shortage. The government plan to make changes to tests that will come into force as soon as possible. Industry leaders supported the proposed changes in a public consultation over the summer. It is claimed that the proposed changes will not affect the standard of driving required to pass HGV tests.

 

Proposed changes

Under the government’s new proposals learner lorry drivers will be able to take the articulated lorry test without having to pass the rigid lorry test first. This change will free up test space for those looking to drive rigid lorries only.

Learner bus and coach drivers will be able to go straight for a bus and coach test with a trailer without needing to pass the test without a trailer first.

These changes will have zero effect on the standard of tests and if legal processes are completed successfully, the government anticipate that the regulations will be changed as soon as possible.

 

What should I do if I have a rigid lorry test booked?

If you have drivers who have already booked their rigid lorry test, the government recommend you communicate to your drivers and come to a decision about their upcoming test. It might be beneficial for some to wait for the legislation to change as you will be required to take fewer tests to drive an articulated lorry and a bus or coach test with a trailer.

 

Hawsons Transport and Logistics partner Paul Wormald comments:

The economy as a whole is experiencing acute supply-side challenges with delays in the supply of a wide range of goods. The current shortage of competent qualified HGV drivers is contributing to this, and putting upward pressure on the wages that drivers can demand. This in turn is likely to have knock-on effects on the rate of inflation generally.

It is clear that the government needed to do something to address the current situation and hopefully, these measures will go some way to increase the supply of drivers into the market. However, further steps still need to be taken to help promote lorry driving as an attractive occupation for the younger generation to avoid more chronic shortages in future years.

 

How can we help?

At Hawsons we have a dedicated team of transport and logistics accountants at our offices in Sheffield, Doncaster, and Northampton. We act for a large number of clients in this sector across our three offices, ranging from hauliers to international couriers, and understand the challenges this dynamic sector faces.

Nearly every other commercial sector is reliant on the services transport and logistic businesses provide and, in many ways, this specialist sector is the linchpin for our country’s economy.

With our experience in the transport and logistics sector we are able to develop a close understanding of your business and, through active year round involvement, we can help you anticipate and deal with challenges quickly and effectively.

Free initial meeting

Paul Wormald

Partner, Doncaster

01302 367 262

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The Chancellor Rishi Sunak has confirmed that he will be delivering his autumn Budget on 27 October 2021. This is the first time there has been an autumn Budget since 2018. In this Budget, he will be announcing his plans to support public services and revive the economy with £140bn of additional spending.

The government has already announced the health and social care tax rise which has now been backed by parliament. However, It remains to be seen what else is in store on the tax front. There could be further significant changes that could affect you.

Our tax specialists will be watching the Budget and will provide commentary on the announcements. To pick up on our commentary, follow us on Twitter (@Hawsons) or LinkedIn.

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Aaron Hemmington

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01604 645 600

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Hospitality sector calls for business rates reform

Hospitality sector calls for business rates reform

Introduction

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Why do trade bodies want a reform?

In the current system, the hospitality sector overpays by 300% relative to its turnover which amounts to £2.4bn. Understandably, the hospitality sector believes this is particularly unfair considering the effect the pandemic has had on hospitality businesses. This has piled up the pressure on indebted businesses as they start to rebuild after being closed for the majority of the last 16 months. The fact that they are overpaying on their business rates certainty doesn’t help.

Hospitality trade bodies have expressed a number of concerns about the proposals in the consultation which would increase the administrative burden on hospitality businesses. They believe a broader review is needed to redesign the business rates system to reduce the administrative burden and not increase it.

Hospitality trade bodies propose that businesses should not be asked for any additional information than they currently do in the revaluation process particularly as they will now be more frequent. Furthermore, they believe that the Valuation Office Agency should improve its technological systems to help with data returns.

 

How can we help?

At Hawsons we have a dedicated team of leisure and hospitality accountants at our offices in Sheffield, Doncaster, and Northampton.

As the sector continues to become ever more challenging, with changes in the fierce global, nation, and regional competition leading to unrelenting pressures to maintain margins, it is more crucial than ever to seek sound and proactive advice.

At Hawsons our dedicated team of specialist hotel, pub and restaurant accountants offer professionals advice and guidance that is tailored to their individual needs and requirements, providing a full range of proactive services.

Free initial meeting

Richard Burkimsher

Richard Burkimsher

Partner, Northampton

01604 645 600

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