Live Q&A: Will Covid-19 kill the high street?


The second lockdown couldn’t have come at a worse time for high street retailers in the UK, which are estimated to be losing £2bn a week in sales as Christmas spending shifts online.

Internet retailers are gearing up for a bumper Black Friday later this month as non-essential shops remain closed — but analysts warn the shift in consumer spending habits will have a devastating effect on towns and city centres.

This week’s live Business Clinic video will discuss how retail businesses are responding to this structural shift, and how the government could better support this.

Claer Barrett, the FT’s consumer editor, will talk to Andy Bounds, the FT’s enterprise editor, about the future of high street retail and policy changes needed to rebalance the changing landscape, such as reforms to taxation.

The live discussion will begin at 12 noon UK time on Tuesday November 17, and can be viewed via a video link embedded within this story, or on the FT’s YouTube and LinkedIn channels.

We are very keen to hear examples of how small independent retailers are fighting back by moving online — noting the recent launch of independent book retailing hub Bookshop.org — and using tech to keep trading during lockdown.

To leave a comment for Claer and Andy, or to ask a question, please comment below.



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