London's most high profile shopping destination welcomed back shoppers for the first time since before Christmas today as the lockdown across England began to lift. Despite cold weather and, in some places snow, at the start of the day, shoppers flocked to the street's best known stores such as Primark, Zara, JD Sports, Nike and Selfridges.
The much talked about pent-up demand was evident this morning as shoppers flocked to the reopened shops – with footfall up to 10am across all UK destinations up +218.2% week on week.
Retailers are hoping pent-up demand and the fun of “physical shopping” will see consumers flooding back into bricks and mortar stores after a turbulent year of closures and restrictions.
Many salons are reporting they are fully booked for up to six weeks despite "everybody wanting an appointment on April 12". The reopening of hairdressers in England will come as a relief to many, but pent-up demand means a wait of up to another six weeks to secure an appointment.
Dune London will be reopening all of its stores in England and Wales from Monday 12 April, 2021, with safety precautions including disinfecting tried on shoes and regular cleaning and sanitising of seating areas.
Frasers Group has warned it could take a hit in excess of £200 million due to the ongoing Covid-19 restrictions – double its previous estimate in February.
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Usdaw are urging shoppers to “stick to the rules” and play their part in keeping shop workers safe, to help ensure there is no risk to the government’s roadmap out of lockdown when shops start to reopen on 12 April, 2021.
UK footfall recovered strongly to an annual decline of -28.1% in March, from -61% in February 2021, though that was distorted by the anniversary of Lockdown 1 falling in the penultimate week of the month, according to retail experts Springboard.
Downing Street has declined to rule out the possibility that shoppers at clothing retailers may be required to produce a "vaccine passport" in the future.
Footfall across UK retail destinations increased by +8.5% in the week of 28 March – 3 April, 2021, compared to the week before, with warmer weather cited as a key factor.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has confirmed the reopening of non-essential retail, as well as beauty services and hairdressers from 12 April across England as the UK continues to proceed as expected through his four-stage exit from lockdown plan revealed on 22 February.
Almost 190,000 jobs have been lost in the retail turmoil since non-essential retailers were first forced to shut their doors a year ago, according to new figures.
Fashion retailers will be permitted to reopen fitting rooms when stores across England exit lockdown on 12 April.
Next has said profits for the last year were slashed by more than half after its stores were shut for large parts of it. However, the group also raised its profit forecast for the current year, as it hailed soaring online sales in the past eight weeks.
SKG Capital is looking to capitalise on opportunities presented as the retail industry emerges from the Coronavirus crisis and has earmarked £20 million to spend on retail acquisitions over the coming 12 months.
UK footfall across all UK destinations was +68.1% higher last week – 21-27 March, 2021, than in the same week in 2020, in what was the anniversary of the first week of Lockdown 1, according to the latest data from retail experts Springboard.
Retailers are currently conflicted about the reopening of fitting rooms, urging the Government to update regulations in an effort to compete with online rivals, reduce return rate and restore faith in high street businesses.
Retail campaigners are calling for an Eat Out to Help Out-style scheme to boost independent stores as they prepare to reopen across England on 12 April.
Non-essential retailers will be able to open for up to 15 hours a day to avoid over-crowding in stores after lockdown lifts.
The Treasury has confirmed that businesses will not be able to cite the impact of COVID-19 as a valid reason for applying for a reduction