Independent retailers have reported “encouraging” trade after the reopening of “non-essential” shops in England.

According to a survey of members by Bira (British Independent Retailers’ Association), more than one fifth (22.3%) of respondents enjoyed more than 100% better sales than they would have expected before Covid-19.

It also revealed that 15% of respondents achieved between 75% and 100% of expected sales compared to before the crisis. Just 11% had taken only 25% or less of predicted sales.

Looking ahead, 30% of respondents said they felt “fully prepared” for a second lockdown – both nationally or regionally – while 49.5% felt “somewhat prepared” if restrictions were implemented again.

Bira represents independent retail businesses including fashion retailers and comprises the Fashion and Accessories trade association, formerly the Fashion Association of Britain (FAB).

Its chief executive, Andrew Goodacre, commented: “The results were encouraging but also highlighted fragile consumer confidence. We welcome the reopening of the hospitality sector in England on July 4 but more help is needed for independent retailers moving forward, such as a reduction in VAT.

At the time of the survey in late June, 89.3% had implemented social distancing measures inside their premises, while 63% had some sort of social distancing measures outside the premises – and reported they had better sales because of it.