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The NFRN’s Chief Operating Officer, Greg Deacon, joined the Independents’ Day UK’s 30 minute Q&A to discuss the impact that the coronavirus has had on the independent retail sector, potential opportunities amid lockdown and how “speed and agility” can help independent stores to survive within the current climate.

Members of the independent retail industry were invited to join the online video discussion – which took place April 23rd – to openly ask any queries and concerns that they may have, regarding the current climate and future of the sector.

During the discussion, Mr Deacon said: “Currently, the sector can be put into three main buckets: retailers that are still trading – and potentially trading up – during lockdown, those that are still open and putting themselves at risk, but aren’t trading at the same rate that they were before Covid-19, and those that have sadly had to close and footfall has decimated.

“There is a very mixed picture at the moment. The reality is that a lot are doing extremely long hours and not making much.

“I am incredibly impressed by the level of service that independent retailers are doing for their local communities. We’ve seen a large amount of retailers quickly change their business models to adapt.

“Right now, independent retailers have an opportunity to consolidate their range, take a step back and improve their business.

He continued: “Speed and agility are the key to success within the current climate. I encourage all independent retailers to do the right thing by their customers – you will be remembered for it.

“I also encourage collaboration between independent store owners – see the other store down the street as an allay instead of an enemy.

“Moving forward, I think that we will see a big change in how we shop. I believe that home delivery will become the ‘new normal’ and the high street will become a more social place.

“It is going to be challenging but be positive, optimistic and prepared. Be proactive and prepare for what you will do after Covid-19. It will pay off”

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