After a disastrous year, English stores want shopping at the end of the blockade


London — After more than three months of forced closure by the COVID-19 pandemic, we hope that a non-essential UK store will reopen on Monday, spurring a trade boom by escaping the lockdown.

The British Retail Consortium, an industry lobby group, estimates that UK stores lost £ 27 billion ($ 37 billion) in three blockades, while 67,000 retail jobs were lost in 2020 alone. doing.

Approximately 17,532 chain stores disappeared from high streets, shopping centers and retail parks across the UK last year, according to data compiled by researchers at Accounting firm PwC’s Local Data Company.

However, analysts do not expect shoppers to refrain, as more than half of the UK’s adult population receives at least one of two vaccinations.

A man wearing a face mask passes by Preston's boarded retail store
On March 9, 2021, a man wearing a face mask passed by a boarding retailer in Preston, England. (Phil Noble / Reuters)

Market researcher Kantar predicts that consumers will spend £ 3.9 billion ($ 5.3 billion) on High Street in the first week of reopening.

Simon Wolfson, CEO of fashion retailer Next, told Reuters, “There was definitely a bounce at the end of last year’s (June) blockade. The same thing never happened again. I was surprised. “

Many shopping areas look very different from what they were before the pandemic. No chain store has been fixed for decades, such as fashion retailers Topshop, Topman, Burton, Oasis, and Laura Ashley. A prominent victim of the crisis that has hit this sector.

John Lewis’s eight department stores will not reopen, and the Debenhams store will only reopen to host the final closing sale.

Insignificant stores in England have been closed since January 4, when Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed a third blockade to stop the surge in COVID-19 cases.

Scottish shops will have to wait until at least April 26th, but non-essential retailers will reopen in Wales on Monday. Northern Ireland has no date yet.

Pent-up demand

After last month’s official data showed that 2020 was the worst year for the economy for more than three centuries, getting shoppers to spend again is key to the UK’s recovery.

Analysts believe that customer backlash could be more pronounced than it was in June last year.

“The blockade clearly improves the average family’s profit and loss, and many think they won’t go on vacation abroad this year. Shoppers can spend money and most people fashion for nearly two years. I’m not shopping, “said Peel Hunt analysts.

Roger Whiteside, CEO of baker Greggs, believes the sector will benefit from stagnant demand.

The Greggs store was allowed to trade through the latest blockade, but he wants a boost from the relaxation of restrictions to a scaffolding on High Street.

“Primark is a good example because there are lines outside stores that people don’t have easy access to online,” he said.

The government has allowed extended business hours to help the sector address the challenges of social distance regulation, which will come into force until June 21st. Last month, the store was open from Monday to Saturday at 10 pm.

James Davy

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