The High Street scheme has been recognized as an effective way to boost the economy, restore consumer confidence and preserve jobs for retailers, hospitality and leisure companies in Northern Ireland.
The Minister addresses the media at the launch of the HSS in Belfast
This was a key finding of the Northern Ireland High Street Scheme business impact report, which included a survey conducted by Retail Economics on behalf of the Department.
The research report was made to assess the impact of the High Street scheme on the retail, hospitality and services sectors and was aimed at gathering feedback from businesses.
His findings show that the scheme is set against five key areas. These are:
- interaction: there was extensive interaction: almost every Spend Local card was activated (99.6%), with 1.4 million residents applying for the card;
- additionality: both large and small businesses reported that the prepayment card contributed to additional costs rather than displacing costs that were likely to have occurred in any case;
- targeting: it was reported that costs increased in small independent local businesses;
- confidence: the prepaid card gave consumers a boost to visit physical channels, which had a positive impact on attendance; and
- jobs: businesses reported that this scheme helped save jobs
Of the 315 retail, hospitality and leisure businesses surveyed, the following key statistics emerged:
- 80% of retailers and hospitals agreed that HSS helps maintain small independent businesses;
- 65% of retailers and hospitals believed that the HSS had a positive or very positive impact on sales compared to their expectations for the time of year;
- 74% of small businesses believed that this scheme helped boost consumer confidence and visitor numbers between mid-November and mid-January;
- more than two-thirds (69%) of small retailers believed the scheme helped save jobs;
- 80% of small retailers believed that the HSS encourages costs that are otherwise unlikely to have occurred; and
- two-thirds (66%) of small businesses believed it was a good use of public money.
Economy Minister Gordon Lyons welcomed the findings. He said: “The High Street Scheme was a new and ambitious initiative that achieved exactly what it intended. Its goals were to bring people back to High Street and give an economic blow to our retail, hospitality and services sector to help them recover from the devastating effects of the pandemic.
As a result, just under 1.4 million cards were issued and more than £ 136 million was introduced into the Northern Ireland economy. the success of the scheme in meeting these goals ”.