The ‘tenacious’ spirit of independent Welsh retailers has seen the number of independent stores increase
The ‘tenacious’ spirit of independent Welsh retailers saw the number of independent stores increase in the first half of 2021 – despite months of lockdowns.
Last week, the Local Data Company released figures for the chain store sector with the number of units falling by 260 in Wales – with 164 openings and 424 closings.
Now statistics for independents show that there are actually 41 more stores compared to the same time last year.
This despite the fact that Wales’ non-core retail sector is on lockdown from January 1 to April 12.
There were 667 closures during this period, but this was overtaken by new openings, which stood at 708.
However, bringing the multiple and independent figures together, Wales has always seen a drop in the number of stores – with almost one in five units now empty.
It is hoped that India can help reverse this overall decline in the future.
Tess Turner, co-owner with her husband Jon of the Little Lily & Co boutique, was one of those who expanded, adding a Llandudno store to their existing boutique in Rhos-on-Sea.
Tess said, “We took the opportunity during the pandemic to reassess our business plan and the direction the company was taking.
“When we saw that there was an empty unit in the Victoria Center in Llandudno, we knew it was a chance to expand the business to give us more footfall and a larger audience.
“Being an independent company means that we are able to better understand and respond to the needs of our customers and to react more quickly to any changes in customer behavior, as we have seen during the pandemic.
“Jon and I have worked for large companies and have seen how the size of operations can sometimes slow down process or policy changes. We are fortunate, as an independent retailer, to be able to make a decision and start implementing it immediately. “
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Mike Learmond, Senior Director of Development – Wales, Federation of Small Businesses, said: “These numbers are a testament to the relentless determination of owners of independent small businesses in the hospitality and retail industry to achieve their goals. adapt and survive during the most difficult times.
“Small businesses are nimble and can react to changes in business patterns faster than their counterparts in mass distribution. There is also evidence of an entrepreneurial culture in Wales, as evidenced by the high number of business start-ups during the pandemic.
“Welsh businesses are tenacious, ambitious and starting to feel confident again, but they need the Welsh and UK governments to meet this ambition and continue to create the best possible conditions for running a business in Wales. “
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