UK shoppers flock to stores as bumper retail weekend looms | Retail business

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Shoppers are expected to flock to the shopping streets and malls of England and Wales this weekend after a bumper week, especially for clothing and homeware sales as people are making the most of it the reopening of non-essential stores.

Visitors to main streets, retail parks and malls increased 90% Monday through Thursday compared to the same days the previous week, thanks to the reopening of non-essential stores as well as hospitality venues , according to the latest analyst data. at Springboard. However, the numbers were still just over a quarter lower than seen in the same week in 2019, before the pandemic hit.

Central London saw a particular increase in shoppers, up 124% per week, but visitors were still almost two-thirds less than in 2019 as the capital continued to suffer from a shortage of commuters and tourists.

Market towns, malls and coastal towns all fared better than city centers, with families enjoying local outings in cold weather for the second week of the Easter school vacation in many parts of the country.

Oxford Street shoppers in central London.
Oxford Street shoppers in central London. Photographie: David Cliff / NurPhoto / REX / Shutterstock

Springboard said the increase in attendance was double what it had expected and he expected an even bigger rise this weekend. “For some people who have worked all week, this will be their first opportunity to visit stores and destinations. In addition, many schools return on Monday, so parents will take their children to buy school supplies and clothes, ”a spokesperson said.

Total store sales last week more than increased tenfold, compared to the same week last year, when the UK was at the height of the first lockdown to control the coronavirus pandemic, according to the firm’s analysis BDO consultancy on the trade of about 80 mid-size retailers Figures. But BDO found that online sales grew by more than 49%, indicating that the shift to online shopping has not faded.

Home goods saw the biggest increase in sales – more than 50 times that of the previous year, according to BDO – as it was finally possible to try out a sofa or mattress, while fashion sales were on the rise. increase of just over 82% over one year thanks to online sales. continued to increase and in-store sales surged.

Lloyds Bank said spending on clothing through its debit cards rose 116% Monday through Thursday compared to the same days the week before. He said more than two-thirds (68%) of spending was in stores as people returned to main streets. In contrast, spending in restaurants and pubs increased by 38%, as many outlets were forced to remain closed due to lack of sufficient outdoor space.

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Gabby Collins, Lloyds Bank Payments Director, said: “The pent-up demand was broadcast on main streets, with in-person spending increasing as people walked into stores.

“This is a really encouraging sign of consumer confidence, but we’ll wait and see how sustained that initial demand is over the next few weeks.”

It wasn’t just about clothes, pubs and sofas. Entertainment and music chain HMV saw more than double the number of visitors to its stores this week compared to numbers that increased the week following the end of the first lockdown in June of last year.

Owner Doug Putman said: ‘This was by far our best comeback after the lockdown, and it not only indicates that the British public feel confident in the Covid security measures that retailers, including HMV, have put in place. , but also that people are excited to go out and see what the high street has to offer. “

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