UK clothing retail suffers as Tier 4 restrictions in place

Tier 4, the toughest set of coronavirus restrictions put in place by the UK government beginning December 20, has given a jolt to clothing retailers. To reduce social contact, the strictest lockdown regulations require some businesses to close, including non-essential retail such as clothing and homeware stores, and market stalls selling non-essential goods.   Tier 4 restrictions have been put in place in London and other parts of England after a new COVID-19 strain was detected, which has up to 70 per cent more transmissible than the original.  

“We recognise that the government has difficult decisions to make and the situation with the pandemic is very fast moving, but this is hugely regrettable news. Retailers have invested hundreds of millions of pounds making stores Covid-secure for customers and staff, and SAGE’s advice has said throughout that closing non-essential retail has a minimal impact on the spread of the virus,” said Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium (BRC).  

“The consequences of this decision will be severe. For businesses, the government’s stop-start approach is deeply unhelpful – this decision comes only two weeks after the end of the last national lockdown and right in the middle of peak trading which so many are depending on to power their recovery. Faced with this news – and the prospect of losing £2 billion per week in sales for the third time this year – many businesses will be in serious difficulty and many thousands of jobs could be at risk.  

“The government will need to offer additional financial support to help these businesses get back on an even keel – an extension to business rates relief in 2021 is the best place to start,” added Dickinson.  

The new strain of COVID-19 has forced many countries to stop international flights to the UK, and has also prompted the closure of the UK-France border. Reacting to the situation, Andrew Opie, director of Food & Sustainability at the BRC, said: “We urge the UK Government and the EU to find a pragmatic solution to this as soon as possible, to prevent disruption for consumers. Retailers have stocked up on goods ahead of Christmas which should prevent immediate problems. However, any prolonged closure of the French border would be a problem as the UK enters the final weeks before the transition ends on December 31.”

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest Articles

Get News Updates