Buyers return to shopping streets as Covid lockdown eases in England | Retail business


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Shoppers have returned to the shopping streets of England and Wales as fashion stores, toy stores, hairdressers and other non-essential retailers reopened for the first time in more than three months.

The number of people in shopping destinations on Monday at 3 p.m. was more than double the level the previous Monday and only just over a quarter below 2019 levels, Springboard analysts said.

Spending in England rose 500% at hair salons and nearly tripled in stores in the morning, compared to a typical Monday before the pandemic, according to financial app Revolut.

Ads got off to a slower start, but revenue was still up 150% from normal pre-pandemic levels just before lunch, with the biggest increases in Romford and Chester.

With snow showers in places and cold weather across the country, Springboard said shopping malls reported the largest increase in footfall, followed by main streets. There has been less of an increase in retail parks because many have supermarkets and DIY stores, which were able to trade throughout the lockdown.

Shoppers started lining up before 7 a.m. outside some Primark stores, which were among the first to open in England and Wales, as well as sporting goods stores and chains Zara and TK Maxx.

Paul Marchant, Managing Director of Primark, said: “As expected the stores have been very busy, but we are more than ready and very confident in the security measures we have in place. The mood has been incredibly upbeat and positive. “

The crowd raised hopes of a spending spree fueled by £ 180bn in foreclosure savings set aside by UK consumers after months without nights, vacations or – for many – commuting to work.

People outside JD Sports
People waiting to buy trainers queue outside JD Sports in Oxford Street in London Photographie: Graeme Robertson / The Guardian

About 40 people lined up outside Primark on Oxford Street in central London before it opened despite freezing cold weather, but were outnumbered by much longer lines, mostly young men, waiting outside JD Sports, Footlocker and Nike Town hoping to buy some wanted sneakers which they could then sell online.

Several of these early morning buyers told The Guardian that they had exchanged advice on where to go to find the best stock through large groups of WhatsApp trainer traders.

Diyar Cicek, 19, standing in front of JD Sports as snowflakes fell at 8 am, said: “We are trying to make some money. Nobody wakes up at this time otherwise. “

Dillon Chuckisama, 19, the first in line outside of Nike Town, said he had been in line for about two hours and planned to buy up to 10 pairs of sneakers he could sell for around 50 £ profit per pair via Instagram. Referring to the most wanted type of coach, he said: “The Jordans bring the money and that’s what makes the world go round.”

Trainers fans were also a big part of the long line that had gathered outside the Selfridges department store, which was almost completely surrounded by people.

At Primark, shoppers said they had lined up for good deals for themselves and their loved ones. “It’s first come, first served, and we didn’t want to miss anything,” said Esther, 15, who had purchased pool sliders and other summer gear from the chain. “Everyone missed Primark. I don’t buy online, ”she says.

Clothing buyers
People shop early in the morning in Oxford Street Photographie: Graeme Robertson / The Guardian

Hollie Blu, 24, and her mother Caroline, who both carried multiple Primark and Marks & Spencer bags, said they arrived on Oxford Street at 7 a.m., after walking from Elephant and Castle, about three miles from the.

They were surprised that there were no more queues. “I needed to get out of my house and have a place to go. We need something normal, ”Caroline said. “But I noticed that there were quite a few stores not here. We wanted to get to New Look, but it’s not there anymore. “

A number of stores have disappeared – evidence of the devastation the coronavirus pandemic has wrought on clothing retailers. Topshop’s sprawling flagship store on Oxford Circus has been closed, and Debenhams flagship down the road is also permanently closed, making up almost three blocks of locked shops. Wallis and Evans are also gone.

In addition to empty stores in the wake of the chain collapse, retailers such as Next and River Island have closed shops on Oxford Street, contributing to dozens of gaps in the UK’s most famous main street.

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The main streets of small towns and villages were busier than central London.

By mid-morning the streets of St Albans in Hertfordshire were bustling with groups of friends, families and couples.

Deryane Tadd, 48, owner of The Dressing Room fashion store, described the “good buzz” of having customers inside the store. “On the first day of the reopening last June, there was more concern and people were more reluctant. Now they seem more positive and confident, ”Tadd said.

Three tables of patrons enjoyed lunch and drinks outside the Horn pub and concert hall, where gazebos had been set up in the garden. Manager Robbie Thomas, 26, said they were a bit busier than he expected as “people can’t wait to get their first pint”.

“There are fewer restrictions than the last time we were open when we had the substantial meal rule and the rule of six indoors. It seems easier so far, ”said Thomas.

Elsewhere in town, Sarah Pearson and Dawn Donovan were celebrating their long-awaited reunion with espresso martini cocktails outside the Alban’s Well pub. “I went swimming this morning too,” said Pearson. “Life is coming back, isn’t it?”

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