NABMA Survey Reveals Growing Fears for the Future of the Markets Industry

NABMA Survey Reveals Growing Fears for the Future of the Markets Industry

NABMA (the National Association of British Market Authorities) has undertaken another COVID-19 survey following a request from government to update them on the state of the markets’ industry.

Over 100 markets of all sizes, locations, indoor and outdoor around the UK responded within a short timeframe. This represented a sample of some of the largest and most important markets in the UK that also included London markets and smaller rural located markets.

85% of markets at risk

In May/June our evidence suggested that some 35% of market operators considered that their market activities were at risk as a result of COVID-19. This survey sample now suggests that the figure is now as high as 85%. Probably, with a more detailed survey the figure will certainly average over 50% across the UK.

NABMA has stressed to government that the at risk figure is increasing because of the ongoing lack of support for market operators from government when compared to the benefits provided for other elements of the retail, tourism and hospitality sectors. The lack of government support for market operators has, and continues, to undermine the confidence of the future prosperity and wellbeing of local markets.

The survey also revealed the lost income for each market operator from 23 March until present. The figures reflected not only lost income during lock down, but also the impact of  introducing various local schemes of incentivized rents to encourage traders to return. The financial impact on each market is immense, and ongoing, together with the cost of making each market COVID secure and complying daily with ever changing legislation.

NABMA has again stressed the resounding message that market operators, within the government support agenda for business, feel that they have been forgotten and this could have a huge impact on the 40,000 small and medium businesses that rely on local markets as an outlet for their trade.

NABMA Chief Executive David Preston said:

“If markets are to play a serious role in the renaissance and regeneration of the high street; be a source for start-up business; and a leader in the food provenance agenda; then now is the time for government to give operators some confidence to plan for a future.  As markets are not currently getting financial support, have few resources left and many traders are not returning then our survey suggests the projected outcome, without intervention, will be a major dent in the government agenda for the recovery of the high street. At present markets have an assumed important role in high street recovery that it unlikely that many operators will be able to fulfil”.

In summary, the latest NABMA survey summary indicates that there is a real risk to the future of markets.

NABMA Chief Executive David Preston added:

“A substantial cross section of the industry are sending out a clear message of their concerns as to what markets will be, and look like, into the future. It is feared that some 600 local and traditional markets, may be at some risk by Easter unless government shows some serious support and financial encouragement to the markets industry. This is a time critical matter”.

Key Survey Findings:


  • Only 10% of operators received any support from the Reopening High Street Safely Fund
  • Some 92% of operators have received no funding from the Local Government Income Compensation Scheme
  • 85% of operators consider that their market activities may now be at risk.
  • Only approximately 30% of traders from the surveyed markets originally benefited from the initial business fund grants
  • Approximately 40% of traders received no payment from the Discretionary Grants Fund  

We welcome news stories, job vacancies and tender opportunities from our members for publication. If your market has some news to share, please email

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