Retailers and small businesses both saw damage to business during the first quarter of the year following unseasonably cold weather, according to reports from both the BRC (British Retail Consortium) and the FSB (Federation for Small Businesses). The BRC report indicated that footfall in retail environments was down by 5.2 per cent on the same period in 2012. The prolonged cold weather has been cited as a reason for the poor figures, especially when compared with the unseasonably warm weather in March last year. Footfall weakened in all locations in March. High streets reported a fall of 7 per cent, with out-of-town retailers reporting a 4.2 per cent drop and shopping centres a 2.4 per cent decline. Helen Dickinson, British Retail Consortium Director General, stated, ‘The prolonged cold was the main culprit for deterring shoppers, especially compared against the far milder March of 2012. Although footfall did pick up around the Easter weekend, it couldn’t fully compensate for a weak showing across the month as a whole. ‘High streets were hit the hardest by the cold snap, as many favoured shopping under shelter rather than braving the elements. In February, high streets had been the standout performer, but March saw footfall growth slumping back. ‘March sales figures were fairly strong, even if you strip out the data for the Easter weekend which fell earlier this year than in 2012. This suggests that when people did venture out, they bought things, although the weather brought mixed fortunes for different categories as food did well but Spring and Summer fashions fared badly.’ The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) claimed the March freeze cost the UK’s smaller businesses
BRC and FSB report business decline for first quarter of 2013
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.