Small firms concerned for recovery as retail figures fall again

By Federation of Small Businesses - 20th September 2021

Amid another fall in retail sales, FSB warns of the scale of problems small firms are facing as they try to recover from the pandemic. Sales fell by 0.9% in August, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said, following a 2.8% fall in July.

Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) National Chair Mike Cherry said: “Small firms trying to recover from the pandemic are facing a barrage of hits to this which is now very visible as these latest retail figures show.

“Supply chain problems are hitting hard alongside spiralling employment costs and staff shortages, while the consumer-led recovery could be losing steam.

“News that the government’s regressive jobs tax will place 50,000 people out of work could not come at a worse time.  Retail businesses are nervous about their peak Christmas season, with an opaque winter covid plan likely to see trade restrictions installed at just a week’s notice. It feels to many like a sword of Damocles with a difficult winter ahead.

“Exporters, who are among some of the most innovative small firms, need more support, with delays at the border and soaring costs, or risk hampering their efforts to recover.

“Measures such as uprating the Employment allowance to support firms struggling with recruitment costs would help to free up cashflow to spur recovery of local communities, and promote hiring as furlough ends."

“Small firms are the backbone of our economy, if they continue to suffer, then the rest of the country suffers.”

Supply chain problems are hitting hard alongside spiralling employment costs and staff shortages, while the consumer-led recovery could be losing steam.

- Mike Cherry, Federation of Small Businesses
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