Small retailers warn they have nine weeks before closing

More than half (58 per cent) of microbusiness owners have considered closing down their business altogether due to the ongoing uncertainty of Coronavirus, with three quarters concerned they may have to cease trading within an average of nine weeks if conditions do not improve.

A survey of the owners of 124 retailers with less than 10 employees by smart meter provider Smart Energy GB revealed that three quarters of those polled were anxious about how they will keep their business afloat in the coming weeks and months. The biggest concerns for struggling owners are a lack of business, consumer confidence not returning quickly enough and cashflow issues.

In a bid to keep themselves afloat, 28 per cent of microbusiness owners said they hadn’t paid themselves during the crisis, while more than a quarter (26 per cent) have borrowed money from their personal savings.

Anxieties around the financial toll of the pandemic have meant that two in five retailers are checking their finances daily, compared to 10 per cent before the pandemic.

Other retailers have resorted to applying for a personal council tax holiday (14 per cent) to stay afloat.

Michelle Ovens, founder of Small Business Britain, said: “Everything from negotiating deals with suppliers, through to reviewing business models and shopping around for deals should be on the table."

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