News for Retailers

Business rates cut for small shops

On Monday 27 January 2020, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury made a Written Ministerial Statement announcing additional business rates measures that will apply in England from 1 April 2020.

The Government will increase the retail discount from one-third to 50 per cent, extend that discount to cinemas and music venues, extend the duration of the local newspapers office space discount, and introduce an additional discount for pubs.

The increase in the level of the retail discount from one-third to 50 per cent will apply in 2020/21 for eligible retail businesses occupying a property with a rateable value less than £51,000.

Three out of five Brits are vitamin D deficient

As many as three in five UK adults could have sub-optimal levels of vitamin D in the winter, according to new research published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Deficiency puts people at risk of developing long-term health conditions including osteoporosis and other musculoskeletal problems. The percentage of adults with sufficient levels was just 40%.

The National Institute for Health Care Excellence (NICE) has already recommended that children and young people supplement vitamin D all year round to support overall heath.

Best Health Food Shop to open a fifth store

Reigning Secret Shopper champion Best Health Food Shop has opened its fourth store in the South East – with a fifth on the cards before Christmas.

‘It’s Only Natural’ in Uckfield, Sussex, was bought and refurbished as Best Health Food Shop to join the two stores in Tunbridge Wells and the original in Shoreham. The fifth will be in Worthing.

Owners Len Glenville (left) and partner Mel Beard (right) are pictured with Len’s parents Marilyn and Kriss Glenville outside the Uckfield store, which was opened by Marilyn and local mayor, Cllr Spike Mayhew.

Earlier this year one of the Tunbridge Wells stores won the Better Retailing Magazine/Health Food Institute retailer award for the highest score in our Secret Shopper series.

Call for higher standards

A massive response by the UK food and drink industry has provided evidence to shape the Government’s proposed National Food Strategy, emphasizing the importance of food safety, sustainability, positive nutrition, ethical welfare and consumer preference. It’s the first major review of the UK’s food system in 75 years.

Sir Charlie does Daventry

John Lewis Chairman, Sir Charlie Mayfield, visited Daventry in November to find out how the local Retail Forum works.

Within days of hearing about the Northamptonshire market town’s forum from NAHS and BIRA committee member Cheryl Thallon, he scheduled a visit to see for himself.

The Daventry Retail Forum is a loose alliance of 80-plus independent retailers with the ambition to increase footfall in the town centre by creating and connecting with local events and boosting social media awareness via ‘Discover Daventry’.

During his three-hour tour of the town centre, Sir Charlie visited Sheaf Street Health Store before a bite of lunch at Bread & Circus artisan bakery.

Sir Charlie Mayfield is the Chairman of the John Lewis Partnership which includes the Waitrose supermarket chain. He was the Government-appointed Chair of the UK Commission for Employment and Skills from 2010 to 2016 and Chair of the British Retail Consortium from 2014 to 2016, and was knighted for services to business in 2013.

Premature probiotics

Scientists have concluded research that shows adding probiotic strains Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium to milk given to premature babies appears to decrease the risk of serious gut problems and infections with no safety issues. The study was reported in Archives of Disease in Childhood’s foetal and neonatal edition.

Plant powered expo will build on Veganuary momentum

The newest lifestyle festival to hit the capital, Plant Powered Expo will be storming London Olympia straight after Veganuary.

The ultimate fiesta for sumptuous plant-based food, sustainable entertainment and ethically-conscious living, the Expo (February 1 & 2) will be the focus for people aiming to continue their New Year’s resolutions and explore their vegan options to the full.

The stars of the show will be whole, minimally-processed foods that avoid animal products, especially vegetables, fruits, whole-grains, legumes, seeds and nuts.

International cookery classes, lifestyle projects and fitness workshops will be among the 235 stalls while the Global Food Court will host a stunning list of caterers offering sumptuous dishes from around the world.

Plant Powered Expo can be followed across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, @PlantPoweredXpo or online.

CBD summit in London

Companies and organisations concerned about the confusion surrounding CBD legality in Europe and the UK are invited to a conference in London on January 30.

The Whitehouse Consultancy and Legal Foods will be hosting the event at the Royal Society of Medicine to discuss past, present and future challenges surrounding the use of CBD in active nutrition. It will be chaired by journalist, analyst and communications specialist Shane Starling.

Key industry experts from the US, Canada and Europe will give an overview of the legal status of CBD across the globe and what the market will look like in the near future.

Confirmed speakers include Dr Douglas Kalman, Erica W. Stump, Peter Wennström and Austen Stevenson. Tickets are £780 with special prices for members of academia. Contact

Probiota heads to Dublin for 2020

A major conference focusing on prebiotics, probiotics and the microbiome will roll into Dublin on February 10-12.

To be held at the Clayton Hotel in Burlington Road, Dublin, the Probiota Series brings together experts and leaders from global industries and academia under one roof to present top level insights and provide networking opportunities.

It is hosted by different European cities annually.

Playing safe with CBD

A new trade association has been set up to help steer a legally compliant, socially responsible and innovative CBD industry that prioritises customer safety.

The Association for the Cannabinoid Industry (ACI) was set up after consultation with key stakeholders and brings together leading businesses and experts committed to creating a regulated industry in the UK, governed by a new Quality Charter.

Irish independents ‘vibrant and enterprising’

As the winners of the 2019 Health Stores Ireland/Better Retailing Magazine Awards were announced at the Vitality show in Dublin, the independent retail sector was told just how influential and vibrant it is.

Ireland’s independent health food retailers celebrated in style as the awards were presented in five categories in September.

The top five health stores were named as Here’s Health, Cork (Innovation and Business Development); Blásta Wholefoods, Dungarvan (Community Engagement); Evergreen, Galway (Training & Education); The Aloe Tree, Ennistymon (Environmental Initiatives); and Organico, Bantry (Digital Marketing).

Read the full story here...

Irish health stores delegation scores VAT victory

A deputation from Health Stores Ireland went to an Irish parliamentary committee to champion the case against imposing 23% VAT on health food supplements.

Six representatives appeared at the Oireachtas Joint Finance Committee in Dublin on October 3 – which then decided to send an urgent statement to the Minister for Finance with a consensus opinion that next year’s Budget should retain zero-rated food status taxation on food supplements and vitamins, as has been the practice for over 40 years.

The VAT hike was announced earlier this year but postponed after health stores and consumers protested. Combined with probable additional tariffs should the UK leave the EU without a deal, consumers could be faced with a price increase of almost 40% on some supplements.

Matt Ronan, Health Stores Ireland spokesperson, made an impassioned and logical plea to the committee, backed up by tax consultant Kevin Hurley and GP and medical herbalist Dr Dilis Clare, a member of Health Stores Ireland.

“Any imposition of VAT would impact negatively on health and on retailers,” he told the committee. “A serious risk of any price increase in supplements is that consumers will abandon their local stores and purchase supplements online where there is no regulation. This will lead to local job losses.”

Read more news in the latest issue of Better Retailing Magazine

Read news stories from previous issues of Better Retailing Magazine here