As visitors, shoppers and tourists are forced to stay home during Europe’s lockdown against the spread of COVID-19, it has left retailers with little option to close stores. But now high streets and luxury retailers are working collaboratively to show their collections in other ways.
London on Thursday saw further opening restrictions for retailers, gyms, pubs and eateries, as the prime minister effectively banned visiting any non-essential shops.
In the midst of these temporary boutique closures, Walpole, the trade body representing the UK’s luxury brands, has announced support for the luxury retail sector’s digital offer and calling for Mayfair’s retailers to establish a ‘virtual Bond Street’.
In the coming weeks of imposed social-distancing, Walpole will actively work to promote members’ online shops across all of its platforms and ask that all retail brands – both big and small – support this endeavour.
“By working together, we will have a bigger platform to cut through the uncertainty, with the message being: you may not be able to get to the shops, but you can still support your favourite brands online.”
In a statement the company said: “We begin our #onlineluxury campaign with a focus on one of Walpole’s longest-standing members, Ettinger. Purveyors of elegant, customizable leather goods, Ettinger may have shut their London showroom, but they have thrown open the doors to their digital world. Visit ettinger.co.uk, browse their edit of chic accessories from the comfort of your own home – and then have your selection delivered right to your door with no delivery charges using the code FREEDEL20. And even better – given the current climate – there’s far less chance of you missing your delivery.
Earlier this week figures from Springboard for the period 8-14 March showed a 31.2 percent drop in footfall across high streets, followed by shopping centres, which saw a 21.1 percent drop in visitors.
On Wednesday, Selfridges, the retail stalwart on London’s Oxford Street, announced it would temporarily close its stores. “The health, safety and wellbeing of our customers and team members is our utmost priority and we must do the right thing by the communities in which we live and work to help mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.
With a heavy heart, we have made the decision to temporarily close our four physical stores in London, Birmingham and Manchester from 7pm 18 March.”