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Retailers welcome budget help for low-income families

Support for lower-income families and small businesses and all-day Sunday trading during the Olympics look set to help fashion retailers, after Chancellor George Osborne unveiled his budget on Wednesday.

Osborne confirmed the current six hours would extend to all-day Sunday trading for eight Sundays starting on July 22.

Debenhams welcomed the “flexibility”, with chief executive Michael Sharp adding: “Debenhams would expect stores close to the Olympic site to see a benefit.”

Other retailers suggested the budget’s focus on supporting those on a lower income through raising the threshold in personal tax allowance would have a wider impact on the bottom line.

David Pidgeon, managing director of value chain Select, said: “Of greater interest is the Government freeing up income for those on lower pay. That would mean more in the pockets of people that shop with us.”

Osborne also introduced a £20bn National Loan Guarantee scheme to benefit small businesses. Those with a turnover of less than £50m will see the cost of borrowing reduced by one percentage point.

Paul Turner-Mitchell, owner of Rochdale indie 25 Ten Boutique, said the scheme brings down the cost of borrowing for investments such as store improvements, but added: “In terms of fashion indies, it’s not access to new money, it’s about keeping credit flowing.”

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