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Shops reopening doors – is it too late?

Published: Tuesday 16th June 2020

Non-essential shops are reopening their doors to UK shoppers after roughly 12-weeks. Therefore, only ‘essential’ businesses such as food retailers, DIY centres and garden centres have been allowed to operate. Shoppers and business owners have welcomed the move to ‘open up the High Street’.

However, some people are claiming the move is too late to save the economy. The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has warned the move is will not provide an immediate economic boost. The BRC has asked for reductions in VAT or income tax for lower-income workers.

Shoppers wait in line to enter a shop.

Shops reopening their doors

Official figures reveal a large drop in visitors to high streets despite the long lines of shoppers. Retail analyst Springboard announced that high street visitors in England fell by 45.3% from last year. London’s West End has predicted an 80% drop in visitors when it reopens.

Shoppers are getting a taste of what could be the new normal in retail. These measures include fitting rooms being closed in clothes shops. John Lewis has opened two of its 50 nationwide stores. Furthermore, the chain stated that furniture will be covered in disposable covers and customers trying on shoes must wear disposable socks.

Round indoor sign telling people to remain 2m apart inside a store. Social distancing, end of quarantine

Government to assess 2-meter rule

Many retail stores are sticking to the government’s 2-meter social distancing rule. However, people are claiming that some sectors will be unable to. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has commissioned a review into the two-metre distancing rule to get the economy moving forward. This comes ahead of the July 4th opening of pubs, restaurants, hairdressers, hotels and cinemas. However, many industry insiders claim the 2-meter distancing rule is not practical. These groups are asking for social distancing to be reduced to 1-meter.

What ‘essentials’ are shoppers rushing to buy?

Many shops that reopened their doors this week are asking shoppers pay using contact-less cards. Some industry insiders predict this rule could become the new normal for many businesses. There were some surprises in terms of what people were buying this week. John Lewis reports designer face masks, china sets, towels, sofas and bedding have been the most popular buys so far. Marks & Spencer has reopened 208 shops across the country. The company reports that comfortable casual wear and kids clothing are their biggest sellers.

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