After more than three months of enforced closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, non-essential stores in England reopen their doors on Monday, hoping that the escape from lockdown will fuel a trading boom.
The British Retail Consortium, estimates UK stores have lost £27 billion pounds in sales over three lockdowns, while 67,000 retail jobs were shed in 2020 alone.
Some 17,532 chain store outlets vanished from high streets, shopping centres and retail parks across the UK last year, according to data compiled by researcher the Local Data Company for accountancy firm PwC.
Market researcher Kantar is forecasting that consumers will spend £3.9 billion pounds on the high street in the first week of reopening.
Many shopping areas will look very different from their pre-pandemic state. A raft of chains, including fashion retailers Topshop, Topman, Burton, Oasis and Laura Ashley, which had been fixtures for decades, will not be there – high profile casualties of a crisis that has hammered the sector.
Eight John Lewis department stores will not reopen and Debenhams stores will only reopen to hold final closing sales.
England’s non-essential stores have been closed since Jan. 4 when Boris Johnson imposed a third lockdown to stem a surge in COVID-19 cases.
Non-essential retail will also reopen in Wales on Monday, though Scotland’s shops will have to wait until at least April 26. Northern Ireland does not have a date yet.