Shoppers out in force on Small Business Saturday
Thousands of people hit the high street in England on the first Saturday since the second national lockdown was lifted.
Hordes of people could be seen filling up town and city centres as families scouted for deals during their Christmas shop.
Shoppers made the most of the relaxed Covid-19 restrictions under the new tiering system, which came into force on Wednesday.
It comes after a week of high street woes as 26,500 jobs were put at risk at retailers including Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia Group and Debenhams – which have been severely impacted by the pandemic.
Yesterday was Small Business Saturday, an annual event which takes place on the first Saturday of December.
Now in its eighth year in the UK, a record 17.6 million people supported small independent businesses on last year’s Small Business Saturday, spending an estimated £800 million.
Michelle Ovens, director of Small Business Saturday, said: “We are optimistic that this has been one of the biggest days for a long time for small businesses.
“The rising groundswell of awareness and affection we’re seeing for small firms from the public too is also a positive indicator – research we did with American Express shows that almost two thirds of people now support them more due to the pandemic.
“Shopping local is especially important as many small firms are facing a compressed Christmas trading period.
“These small firms are at the heart of communities and local economies, so all of our individual actions can add up and have a massive impact.”
With less than three weeks until Christmas, shoppers are being urged to shop locally in a push to save small businesses from financial ruin.
Insurance providers Simply Business estimated two out of three smaller firms and self-employed workers have had to stop trading at some point in the past six months due to the crisis.
It found Covid-19 could cost small businesses up to £69 billion, while a separate study by American Express suggested that almost half of non-essential independent retailers believed their survival depended on sales in the run up to Christmas.