BHTA boss, Dr Simon Festing, is expecting a tough time ahead for retailers but believes there is reason for hope.
In conversation with AMP as part of the third episode of AMP LIVE released last week, Festing explained that the coronavirus issues could have accelerated the solution to some long term problems the industry was facing anyway.
He said: “The retail traders have long faced the problem of gradual decline of the high street in comparison to online and that presents many challenges for a sector such as mobility where some of the high value, high ticket items are much more difficult to sell online.
“It’s also trickier to apply a code of conduct and have an ethical approach which in the long term is going to be beneficial for all of us. This is why the BHTA runs its code of practice which is there to try and bolster consumer confidence in this market.”
Festing, in the job for only a few weeks before lockdown was introduced, continued: “It’s more of a challenge now as footfall has declined and we simply don’t know for sure when it’s going to pick up.
“We hope now the weather is getting better and the virus is on the decline that things will improve but there’s an acceleration of this long-term challenge as how to maintain viable retail outlets. A lot of that is down to the business models and the nimbleness of our members trying to make sure that they offer what is relevant with the correct pricing and the correct approach to sales in those outlets.”
Concluding: “They’re doing the good work and will be there to help them with information and support as best we can.”