One in ten retailers faces ‘imminent collapse’

A new survey has revealed that 1 in 10 British retailers faces ‘imminent collapse’ if lockdown restrictions continue for another month.

The Opinium-Cebr Business Distress Tracker is a survey of 500 companies nationwide.

A large number of businesses have also claimed they will need 28 weeks to recover from the turmoil brought on by the virus pandemic.

Insolvency

An estimated 510,000 businesses are at high risk of entering insolvency, but on the other side of the coin 41% of those spoken to believe we are over the worst and have a more positive outlook for the next 12 months.

Senior economist Pablo Shah said: “The latest results of the tracker show that long-term damage to the economy is stacking up.

Break in the clouds

“With that being said – while present conditions remain challenging to the extreme – the survey results suggest that we could perhaps be starting to see some break in the clouds.”

But lawyer David Billington was less optimistic, saying: “Many experts fear that, once lockdown restrictions are lifted and government support funding ends, hundreds of retailers will collapse as they will not be able to afford the costs of running their business with suppressed demand from consumers.

Many are considering a phased re-opening and will need to adapt to survive.”

Training

The already struggling apprenticeship system in England is another area where problems with the virus have hit hard.

Around two thirds of the companies involved in the scheme have been forced to axe their training budgets, according to The Sutton Trust- a leading educational charity.

Forced

Their report found 61% of firms spoken to had been forced to suspend on the job training, furlough recruits or even make them redundant.

Schemes at 4 in 10 companies had been suspended because the external training provider had either ceased trading or was unable to run the required sessions.

Going forward just over 3 in 10 employers said they would be taking on fewer apprentices in the coming year or none at all.

Profound effects

Trust founder and philanthropist Sir Peter Lampl said: “There will be profound effects on apprenticeships in the short and medium term. It is vital that access to the best apprenticeships stays high on the agenda, particularly as young people are entering the labour market at a very difficult time.

“Apprenticeships have a crucial role in delivering the government’s social mobility agenda which will be especially important as Britain comes out of the pandemic.”