Grand Reopening: Retailers Ready for Returning Buyers | Retail business

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AHamleys, they unpack the teddy bears, vacuum the frozen castle and practice dance routines. John Lewis cleans his dressing rooms and beauty counters, while Debenhams prepares for the sale to close.

After at least 15 weeks of lockdown – more in many parts of the UK – the main streets are preparing to reopen on Monday. Retailers in England and Wales hope to lure shoppers away from the internet and away from home with entertainment, children’s parties, services such as personal style advice for adults, and professional footwear for them. kids – and some big discounts.

For the first time in a year, after a change in government Covid-19 guidelines, retailers will be able to open fitting rooms and give advice on applying beauty treatments.

Chronology

How the Covid lockdown in England will be lifted

Spectacle

8 mars 2021
Step 1, part 1

Indeed, from March 8, all students and college students returned fully. Residents of nursing homes may receive a named regular visitor.

29 mars 2021

Step 1, part 2

Indeed from March 29, the outdoor gatherings allowed up to six people, or two households if that is larger, not only in the parks but also in the gardens. Outdoor sports for children and adults allowed. The official stay-at-home order is ending, but people will be encouraged to stay put. People will still be encouraged to work from home whenever possible, with no overseas travel allowed beyond the current small number of exceptions.
12 avril 2021

2nd step

The official master plan states that the next steps will be data-driven, and the dates indicated mean “no earlier than”. In the second stage, there will be a reopening of non-essential businesses, hair and nail salons, and public buildings such as libraries and museums. Most outdoor venues can open, including pubs and restaurants, but only for outdoor tables and outdoor gardens. Customers will need to be seated, but it will not be necessary to have a meal with alcohol.

The reopening will also be settings such as zoos and theme parks. However, the rules of social contact will apply here, so no indoor mixing between households and limits on the outdoor mixing. Indoor recreation facilities such as gymnasiums and swimming pools can also open, but again, people can only go on their own or with their own household. Reopening of vacation rentals without shared facilities, but only for a household. Funerals can accommodate up to 30 people, while weddings, receptions and vigils can accommodate 15.

May 17, 2021

Step 3

Again with the caveat “no earlier than May 17,” based on current data, immunization levels and transmission rates.

Step 3 involves most mixing rules being lifted outdoors, with a limit of 30 people meeting in parks or gardens. Indoor mixing will be allowed, up to six people or, if there are more people, two households. Indoor venues such as the interiors of pubs and restaurants, hotels and guesthouses, game centers, cinemas and group exercise classes will reopen. The new indoor and outdoor mixing limits will remain for pubs and other hospitality venues.

For sport, indoor venues can accommodate up to 1,000 spectators or half the capacity, whichever is lower; outdoors, the limit will be 4000 people or half the capacity, whichever is lower. Very large outdoor venues, such as large football stadiums, where crowds can be distributed, will have a limit of 10,000 people, or a quarter full, whichever is less. Weddings will be allowed up to a limit of 30 people, with other events such as baptisms and barmitzvahs also allowed.

This will be the first date on which international vacations can resume, subject to separate review.

June 21, 2021

Step 4

No earlier than June 21, all legal mixing limits will be removed and the last areas to remain closed, such as nightclubs, will reopen. Big events can take place.

Peter Walker Political correspondent

Tony Wheeler, head of John Lewis’s Peter Jones branch in Sloane Square in central London, said it took around four weeks to prepare to reopen the store, which closed on December 19. The team of 600 staff, mostly working at the group’s Waitrose supermarkets or dealing with customers online, have all been retrained on the latest safety precautions and product information while cleaning shelves and taking out fresh produce.

“The shop was on time with Christmas stuff and preparations for the [January] to sell. During the lockdown, we sent a lot of stock to support online sales, so it was like a swarm of locusts had passed through, ”he says. “The staff are really excited and happy to have returning customers for face-to-face interaction.”

While the permanent closure of chains such as Topshop, Dorothy Perkins, J Crew, Oasis, Warehouse and Laura Ashley, as well as some Debenhams, John Lewis, House of Fraser and Marks & Spencer stores, will leave large gaps in downtown areas. and shopping centers. , these stores which reopen their doors believe that British shoppers again want to go out on the streets.

Pippa Wicks
John Lewis Executive Director Pippa Wicks: “People are going to be happy to come back. “ Photographie: Kirsty O’Connor / PA

Pippa Wicks, managing director of John Lewis – which has 34 outlets after closing 16 last year – expects queues outside stores. “People will be happy to come back. When we reopened before, we saw a lot of emotion. We are an important part of people’s lives if they have a store nearby. “

She expects fashion floors, the children’s shoe department, and beauty counters to be the busiest, but also hopes shoppers will be keen to make more thoughtful purchases on big-ticket items such as sofas. , beds and refrigerators now that they can try them out. in the shop.

In recent weeks, the group has seen an increase in online sales of dresses, handbags and makeup – 200%, 100% and 50% respectively – as shoppers again prepare for a more social time. .

John Lewis took advantage of the closing time to revamp some stores, bringing in new brands based on what has sold well online. It’s also geared up for the more price-conscious shoppers, with a new line of home and baby items sold under the Anyday brand – with prices 20% cheaper than its other lines.

Wicks says some buyers will be more price conscious due to economic concerns, but she also expects some people to have more money to spend, not having spent to get to work or go on vacation during months. “I think there will be a slight increase over the summer,” she said.

Sumeet Yadav, the managing director of Hamleys, the world’s oldest toy store, also believes shoppers will be eager to return to the stores and has planned a menu of activities including a Pokémon scavenger hunt, Spider-Man appearance. Senior man and Harry Potter wand training. Yadav says the store has also adapted activities – such as his Marvin’s Magic show – so that the entertainment can be enjoyed in a more socially distant way.

A staff member at Hamleys, central London, prepares to reopen after third lockdown
A staff member at Hamleys in central London is preparing to reopen after the third lockdown. Photographie: Linda Nylind / The Guardian

“Our main goal is to give a warm welcome to the family with lots of activities. We have thought carefully about how to make children feel like life is back to normal. Sales have been tough because our stores have been closed, but it’s also a time to think and invest and prepare for our future growth, ”he says.

Wicks estimates it could take 18 months for main streets and shopping malls to fully recover, assuming there is no longer a lockdown to control the virus. She says she thinks downtown stores will take longer to rebound than those in commercial parks or outside of town due to the shift to work from home and the decline in tourism due to restrictions on international travel.

As habits change, John Lewis is putting more products in Waitrose stores and also aims to open at least one or two small neighborhood stores, with cafes and seasonal produce, by the end of the year. .

“The neighborhoods could see new life,” she said. “People want to shop more locally, for convenience and to support local businesses. There could be some positive aspects for these shopping streets. They can perform a different function. What is in these shops on Main Street is subject to change. “

While some established chains are disappearing, others are taking advantage of the space that has become available and the resulting drop in rents to add new stores or to launch in the UK.

At the Trafford Center in Greater Manchester, the closure of stores such as Topshop, Burton, Karen Millen and Thorntons has given way to other brands. New stores in the complex include the second UK outlet for Irish brand athleisure Gym + Coffee, a Polestar electric car showroom, the fast-growing Chopstix noodle bar, online eyewear brand Pop Specs and the premier store of Real Housewives of Cheshire star Seema Malhotra’s. Forever Unique Label.

Health and beauty retailer Superdrug is opening 15 stores this year, Kurt Geiger will open nine new stores on Monday, PureGym will launch 10 new gyms next week, and Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group (formerly Sports Direct) is moving into a former Debenhams store in Wolverhampton. , which was split to house an upscale Flannels store, a Sports Direct store and a Frasers department store.

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