With energy bills continuing to be of concern to many households and businesses across the country, there is hope for local businesses through the return of late night shopping and the festive season.
Cities across the country have opened up their annual Christmas markets, with local vendors popping up with, and local stores participating in late-night shopping schemes in what is hoped to be a boost for the high street.
Jon Knott, Head of Customer Insight said, “With Christmas just under a month away, high streets are getting ready for an increase in footfall as shoppers prepare to return to city centres for present buying and late night shopping. Local Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) are also encouraging SMEs to open shops in previously vacant premises, with the loss of big name high street stores, it’s thought that this year could be the busiest for local vendors appearing on our high streets.
“Additionally, the opening of Christmas markets helps many city centres benefit from tourism, with cities like Manchester, London and York all appearing on lists for the top Christmas markets in the UK. It’s thought these markets could bring thousands of extra shoppers every week, with customers also more likely to purchase from small businesses who have set up shop in the markets and venues in the surrounding areas like pubs, bars and restaurants.
“In fact, based on previous data trends we also predict that the week before Christmas will see the highest spend in 2022 for pubs and bars as festive celebrations ramp up.
“This boost comes at a time when many small businesses are struggling against rising energy bills, with some businesses seeing as much as a 500% increase. However, the prospect of increased footfall, and a change in consumer behaviour towards supporting small businesses over global corporations, should provide some relief for many business owners as we prepare for the start of a new year and what is thought to potentially be a slower January.”
Experts at Paymentsense have also pulled together some free resources, funding options and advice as a starting point for business owners who may feel nervous about the current climate:
The cost-of-living crisis is not only affecting households across the country, but also the many small businesses that form a huge part of our high street. Businesses can look towards more immediate relief by applying for funding. One option is Paymentsense’s small business funding which is available for all of their customers to apply for to help boost businesses with loans from £1k to £1m, depending on their monthly card revenue.
The Government also offers support in the form of Start Up Loans, which allow businesses to borrow up to £25k, with 12 months of free mentoring. You must be 18+, a current UK resident and have been trading for up to 36 months to be eligible to borrow and all loans aren’t guaranteed.
The Help to Grow scheme is another government initiative which provides mentoring and training support to small/medium-sized businesses that employ between 5 and 249 people.