ALL-IN-ALL, retail looks like retail for those on the outside looking in, irrespective of its physical form. We have fashion retail, luxury, warehouse or even your corner-shop tailor — but are you aware of the impact Covid-19 could have on their future? For multi-national companies of course the struggle will take its toll temporarily, but in no way, shape or form will this compare to the backlash that solo business and shopfront could be facing very soon
First a foremost, a lot of the ‘wealth’ within these companies — particularly retail — is invested in assets or stock and isn’t in a ‘savings’ account. What this essentially means, is that the money bouncing between customer and shopfront doesn’t sit in a bank incase of days, it is pushed back into more stock at higher quantities or even just more variety for customers to consume. Growth correlates to wealth in the world of retail, so it makes a lot of sense to operate in this manner. Over time, the savings pot grows as it would with any functioning business, but, if the target consumer only purchases from big-time stores or directly from brand then the smaller company quite literally cannot afford to stay open. Here are a couple of the knock-on effects created by a following a conglomerate by association:
- Staff may not get paid or even lose their job. Now, this could be due to a number of reasons, but as mentioned above all of the company’s wealth is within their physical products being sold on shelves, if no one buys then there is no money to go into the employees’ pockets.
- Cancellation of contracts has already been seen in the thousands across Britain, our infamously flawed zero-hour document initially meant more people would be drawn into employment and therefore unemployment rates nationwide would deplete. Of course this theory worked to an extent and will continue to work in the future, but at present there is no bigger threat. Once employed under a zero-hour contract, the employee has no statutory right to a notice period; this means the employer does not have to give notice of contract cancelation and equally the employee is not obliged to work a notice period. A rough patch of trade could very easily result in unemployment.
- Perhaps a feature more prevalent around specialist catering, but supporting local farmers or product distributors is vital in both the short and long-term. Britain itself produces a plethora of every-day, familiar crops that go straight into supermarkets — however the off-cuts and smaller selections tend to end up in health food-shops and such due to over-stocking or method of growth. So, support your local food shop or visit the family-run cafe and restaurant’s at the end of your street; price-points may be slightly higher than commercial eateries, but these are the spots that may fall short on rent and bills above all else.
- Share your experience on social media. To put it bluntly, if you can share a meme, then you can share a handful of words encouraging your followers to visit a local spot that stood out and went beyond that of which they were expected. As consumers, we rely on visual aids foremost, word-of-mouth or physical recommendations following closely behind when exploring new and exciting things; for many change is difficult without a little push in the right direction.
- For the best part, self employed creatives are due to go without work for weeks or even months on end dependant on our country’s ability to counter the rapidly spreading Covid-19 virus. Cancelled projects have plagued diaries, whilst postponements have only stifled an inevitable and substantial loss in earnings. So, next time a set of graphics for a new project are needed or some photographs require a touch-up, even a handful of pamphlet prints are required; please, please attempt to source locally through those whom may work from home. Sourcing locally is key, not only when obtaining consumables but creative work too.
- Finally, a sense of community spirit contributes to building the foundations for independent businesses to thrive. We all love that one foodie spot in particular, a certain lunchtime stop-off or simply somewhere that allows peak levels of relaxation to be achieved. Instead of being a creature of habit, branch out and broaden your horizons; a lot of these places host evening-clubs and regular events that could easily slip into your routine.
As a whole, by angling everyday life towards a significantly more local stance, your local community as the consumer and resident will benefit. One Great British pound is better than none, a single small job could turn into a month’s rent during times of difficulty and with modern society’s constant battle with mental health, you could make a life considerably easier.
After all, it’s still your decision at the end of the day.