UK shops slash prices as coronavirus causes sales to plummet

It is by no means clear exactly how shops will react to the end of lockdown.

Earlier, Primark told its customers that on reopening they should not expect major price cuts; while the general view is that shoppers will be lured back to the high street by a wave of discounting designed to compete with online competitors.

Commercial Property Advisors (CPA), specialists in business rates reductions, has consistently argued that recovery in offline trading will depend 100% on a radical New Deal, no less imaginative than that which dragged the US out of the recession of the Thirties.

Key to the New Deal would be a national injection of cash into revamping stores, by competition for funds deriving from the recent digital sales tax, and adjudicated by the British Retail Consortium and local Chambers of Commerce. Grants would be accompanied by a "kite-mark" of quality reminiscent of the famous Blue Plaques.

The revenue from the digital tax must not be lost to the general funds of the Treasury, says CPA, and if the proposed "High Street Taskforce" is to mean anything, it must control the disbursement of monies specifically aimed at high street re-generation.


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