Improved disabled access could increase high street business
Retailers could be turning away one in five people by not catering for disabled people and potentially losing out on valuable business.
The Minister for Disabled People Mark Harper said: “We want businesses up and down our high streets to realise they’re excluding more than 12 million customers and their families if they fail to cater for disabled people. That’s the equivalent to the populations of London, Birmingham, Sheffield, Cardiff and Manchester combined.”
Recently we have blogged about the resurgent state of the retail market, but it appears that some retailers could be doing more to increase accessibility. The Minister’s comments coincide with the release of research from the Department of Work and Pensions which revealed that households with a disabled person have a combined income of £212 billion after housing costs.
Businesses are required by law to make reasonable adjustments for the disabled and the Minister has written to more than 200 of Britain’s biggest businesses and 80 trade organisations calling for increased community accessibility for disabled people and their families.
The Minister also stressed that: “It’s not just about fairness; it makes good business sense to be accessible.”
Methods of improving accessibility include clearing clutter from corridors and aisles, printing menus, leaflets and brochures in larger font, giving staff sufficient training and providing accessible disabled parking.
With high streets reporting increased sales, it seems a shame that so many are unable to access basic community facilities. As stated by the Minister, it is not only in the interest of the community, but also in the interest of the business to increase sales and retail activity.