The retail industry’s reaction to the budget

Posted on: August 6, 2015 in Blog by Sarah Legge

George Osborne’s budget has received mixed reviews, especially from those working in the retail industry. The Chancellor’s changes include extending Sunday trading hours and introducing the Living Wage, two proposals which will dramatically change the way that retailers currently operate. Now that the dust has settled after the announcement, Imagin Badges look at how the industry reaction and what these changes mean to retailers across the country.

The new national living wage will mean that businesses will have to pay an estimated £4bn to meet the standards set out in the budget. As two thirds of workers currently earning minimum wage work within the retail and hospitality sectors, it is expected that many companies will struggle to meet these new regulations.

A spokesman from the Association of Convenience Store stated that; “The introduction of a compulsory Living Wage will have a devastating impact on thousands of convenience stores. This will lead to retailers having to reduce staff hours, work more hours in their business and ultimately cancel their investment plans. To introduce this measure with no consultation undermines the independent Low Pay Commission and is a reckless way to impose a massive burden on small businesses.”

It is expected that the move to a higher minimum wage will lead to many businesses having to recoup the loss through pricing strategies, however, there is still a risk of significant job losses as smaller stores struggle to cope.

Sunday Trading

Considering Sunday is the second biggest day of the retail week, it is no surprise that there are plans to extend the current Sunday trading hours. Many large stores have already opened earlier for dedicated browsing time on a Sunday, however the decision for all day trading will come down to local councils who must decide if it is beneficial to their communities.

There have been many opposing views of those that think that Sunday trading will be beneficial to retailers. Many people that spreading the customer spending patterns out further will be detrimental to retailers whilst the worry about staff life/work balance has also been brought up.

Do you think George Osborne got it right? Contact the Imagin Badges team with your thoughts today.

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