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Shoppers flock to stores as retailers in England and Wales reopen

By Huw Hughes


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Shoppers in the UK flocked to stores on Monday as non-essential retailers in England and Wales reopened after months of lockdown.

Up until 10am, footfall across all UK destinations increased 218.2 percent week-on-week.

Breaking that down by locations, footfall in shopping centres saw the biggest improvement, up 339.7 percent, while high streets and retail parks saw increases of 232.8 percent and 58.2 percent, respectively.

Footfall across all UK destinations is now up by 505.1 percent compared to the same time last year, but is down 14.7 percent compared to pre-Covid 2019 levels. Bucking that trend are retail parks, which are up 12.6 percent compared to 2019.

It comes as England and Wales both reopened non-essential retailers on April 12, while retailers in Scotland are expected to reopen on April 26. Northern Ireland is expected to announce a reopening date within the coming days.

England and Wales ease out of lockdown

Retailers will now be looking to make up for lost sales after a year of on-and-off lockdowns, including one over the important Christmas and New Year trading period. The government announced last month that retailers will be able to stay open until 10pm Monday to Saturday to help in that respect, while also giving shoppers more flexibility to avoid peak times.

According to the British Retail Consortium (BRC), the UK’s three lockdowns have cost non-food stores approximately 30 billion pounds in lost sales and resulted in around 67,000 job losses.

BRC said that shoppers must now “play their part” in ensuring safe store reopenings after retailers have spent hundreds of millions of pounds on measures designed to prevent the transmission of Covid.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of BRC, said in a statement: “While we expect an initial surge in spending when shops first open, the real test will be how this holds up. Many of us will be looking forward to returning to our favourite shop in the coming weeks, and we all have a duty to keep each other safe.

“Everyone should be considerate and respectful to their fellow shoppers and hard-working shop staff. This way we can all enjoy shopping and support our local communities.”

Image: Tim Mossholder, Pexels