Boutique magazine’s November 2021 issue is out now

Retailers hoping for a dramatic reform of the business rates system are still reeling from the government’s Autumn Budget announcement. In his hour-long speech, chancellor Rishi Sunak confirmed there won’t be a permanent reduction in rates, warning that promises to abolish the tax were “completely irresponsible.” Instead, he announced a freeze to the planned rise in April 2022, offering a one-year discount of up to 50 per cent to the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors. The multiplier, which calculates how much businesses pay based on their rateable value, will also be frozen for the next two years. There are more measures to come, and you can read further details about those affecting small businesses on page 43.

While any reduction in business rates will no doubt by welcome by indies, critics say the changes don’t go far enough. The British Retail Consortium’s Helen Dickinson OBE slammed the measures, saying: “It’s a mixed bag of announcements from the chancellor which falls far short of the truly fundamental reform that is needed and was promised in the government’s 2019 manifesto. “The chancellor spoke of a new age of optimism, but retailers will struggle to share his confidence after a budget that does not do enough to reduce the burden of costs bearing down on our shops, high streets and communities.” Read more about the industry’s reaction to the budget and spending review in our news round-up, starting on page 9.

But it’s not all disappointing news in this issue. With a green light on public gatherings, trade shows will be back with a vengeance in the new year offering newness and business inspiration for retailers. Some shows are continuing with their mid-pandemic formats, either merging with other shows or operating from smaller venues. Other trade fairs, however, will be bigger than ever – and we can’t wait to see what they have in store. So, if you’re ready to start putting your buying schedule together, we’ve created a show diary, starting on page 24, detailing some of the best fashion trade events from here to Dubai.

We’ve also got some of our own good news: the Boutique Star Awards will be back for 2022! It’s been confirmed that entries will open in January and there will be some new categories that reflect the monumental strides our readers have made over the past couple of years. There will be a winners’ party in Central London next November, which will give us all a chance to get together to celebrate this amazing industry. Turn to page 8 for more details on this very special event. We hope you can join us!

The November 2021 issue of Boutique magazine is out now; read the digital edition here.