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35% of consumers say views of retail staff have improved

Tom Bottomley
03 July 2020

A new BRC-Opinium consumer coronavirus tracking survey – carried out between 26-29 June, 2020 - has revealed that 35% of the public say their perceptions of retail staff have improved since the pandemic began.

That compares with just 3% who said their opinion of retail staff had got worse, while 62% stayed the same or were unsure.

Almost half (49%) of respondents felt that retailers were doing enough to protect the public from coronavirus, with only 10% disagreeing. That is slightly down on the previous week, where 53% said retailers were doing enough and 9% disagreed.

The early interest in going out to shop has also waned, as 12% of shoppers intended to visit stores to browse, down 15% on the previous week, with those who said they would avoid visiting shops if possible rising from 28% to 32%.

Younger respondents, aged between 18-34, showed the most willingness to visit shops, with 15% saying they intended to browse, compared with 27% who intended to avoid going to shops if possible.

Respondents feeling comfortable about making non-groceries purchases in-store fell slightly to 35% (with 17% uncomfortable) down from 39% feeling comfortable the previous week (15% uncomfortable).

On the wearing of masks, 60% either currently wear a mask in stores, or intend to. That is the same as the previous week.

Helen Dickinson, CEO of the British Retail Consortium (BRC), said: “With footfall only up slightly during the second week of reopening, it seems that the initial burst of enthusiasm on the high street may not last, as the ongoing pandemic and economic downturn weigh down on consumers.

“Nonetheless, retail colleagues have shown themselves to be among the real heroes of the pandemic, with over a third of people saying their view of them has improved, compared with just 3% who disagreed. It is now time that the government ensures that these heroes are recognised, and that the jobs of three million retail workers are protected. This will require additional measures by the government to boost demand and rebuild public confidence.

“The haphazard response to the outbreak in Leicester has shown that the government must create a clear framework for handling future local outbreaks, supporting retailers and other businesses in the areas affected.”

Latest figures from BDO released today show that the rapid recovery in high street sales in the first week after non-essential stores were allowed to reopen tapered off in the following days.

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