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Helpful information and support to help businesses navigate challenging times

Latest Information & Advice


As a contributor focussing on consumer behaviour, our founder Kate Hardcastle examines the recent reopening of non-essential retail stores in England. Take a look.



As retailers plan for a safe reopening, here is the latest government safety guidance for shops. 



As the Government announces that all non-essential shops may work towards reopening safely on 15th June, retailers must now plan for a safe and profitable reopening. This means balancing service with safety and delivering a great store experience (often from behind screens). We’ve put together 4 customer service tips to support retailers through this new phase.



The Bounceback Loan Scheme is now open for small businesses, enabling them to borrow between £2,000 – £50,000. The government will guarantee 100% of the loan, with no fees or interest payable for the first 12 months, with the interest rate after that set at 2.5%.



The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is set to open on 20th April, with the first payments due by 30th April.



How Boutiques Can Survive the Impact of Coronavirus

Our founder Kate Hardcastle’s top 5 tips, featured on



Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

  • Open to all UK employers for at least 3 months from 1st March 2020 

  • Employers can claim for 80% of furloughed employees’ (employees on a leave of absence) usual monthly wage costs, up to £2,500 a month

  • In addition, Employer National Insurance contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions on that wage are also covered



Who’s thriving?

  • Zoom – 2.2m new users in 2020 

  • Peloton – shares up 13%

  • Netflix – 7.5m new global subscribers in Q1 2020

  • 12.4% growth among subscription entertainment services such as Netflix & Now TV 

  • Takeaways sales growth of 8.7%.



Government Support Measures

  • A 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England
  • Small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief
  • Grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
  • The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank

Our Top Customer Tips

1. Be human – customers will be highly concerned to, and human-to-human tone of voice is always the best way

2. Do you have any products or services that can help them at this time? Help them understand why & how it could help

3. Reassure them in as many ways as possible, don’t tell them the mechanics of what you are doing to deal with changing times, but the benefits they will gain – e.g. we are offering an online class timetable to keep you fit & healthy if you don’t want to head to the studio

Useful Links

Natwest: include loan repayment holidays, interest rate reductions, temporary emergency loans with no fees or immediate access to deposit balances with no penalty. 0345 711 4477
Barclays:Supporting clients with range of measures include 12-month capital repayment holidays on existing loans over £25k, and increased or new overdraft facilities. 0345 734 5345


HSBC: They are proactively contacting customers to see what help their businesses need. 08000 121 614


The Co-operative can look at temporary increases or requests to pause or reduce current payment obligations, based on your individual circumstances: 03457 213 213


Acas: Providing employees and employers with free, impartial advice on workplace rights, rules & best practice. 0300 123 1100

Our helpful information and support for businesses during COVID-19. View >