More uncertainty about Brexit than a second virus spike.

Nearly 90% of retailers are confident they will be trading in a year’s time. While 94% of suppliers believe their business has a future.

The findings are from the second of three surveys by the British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) into the effects of Covid-19 on equestrian retailers, manufacturers and distributors. 

A robust approach to trading, plus proprietors’ ingenuity, is seeing companies ride out the crisis. 

Indeed, more business owners said that Brexit was contributing to their uncertainty than a return of the virus. 

Chief among worries for retailers was not knowing when the show circuit would resume (for those with trade stands). While the need to keep stock levels tightly controlled was seen as key to recovery.. 

For some suppliers, exports proved surprisingly buoyant during the UK lockdown. Several reported that overseas sales had bounced back quicker than the UK market. 

Flexible business models

The survey looked at business activity during April and May. While 25% of suppliers had closed for part of the main lockdown period, a lower percentage (13%) of retailers had done similarly. 

This was due to the different models of trading available to retailers with more than a quarter starting to offer click and collect – something they intend to continue post-Covid. The 35% who already offered this said the service came into its own. 

Suppliers found new ways of adapting their businesses.  For many, production ceased, at least temporarily, staff often worked from home and senior management stepped in to fill the roles of furloughed staff.

“What is clear from the responses to this survey is the desire to get on with business and the robustness of the approach by many to trading,” said Claire Williams, BETA’s executive director 

“While there are still many unanswered questions and a degree of uncertainty about the future, overall the outlook is viewed with cautious optimism tinged with practical scepticism. 

“Optimism that their own business will recover whilst scepticism that the recovery will continue without interruptions.”

  • The full survey results have been distributed to BETA members. The study covers the impact on businesses’ turnover, use of government assistance schemes and respective sales of various product categories. Other questions explored retailers’ attitude to rep visits and product range planning. To find out about joining BETA, tel 01937 587062 email info@beta-uk.org

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay