Retailers brace for surge in demand as English lockdown nears end

Covid-19 pandemic lockdown reopening black friday
The government implemented a four-week national lockdown in England on November 5
// Retail bosses prepare for surge in demand if England lockdown is lifted on December 3
// Non-essential retail in the country temporarily closed on November 5 due to rising Covid-19 cases
// Crowds have been flocking to stores in Wales since they reopened on November 9

Retail executives have reportedly said they are preparing for a surge in demand if the government allows non-essential services to reopen in England on December 3.

The government implemented a four-week national lockdown on November 5, which saw all non-essential services temporarily close due to rising Covid-19 cases.

Crowds have been flocking to stores in Wales since they reopened on November 9, and sales have almost doubled in some locations compared with the same period last year, Mail on Sunday reported.


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Retail bosses are expecting havoc on English high streets – where shops deemed non-essential will have been closed twice as long as in Wales.

Meanwhile, they are also anticipating a struggle to comply with social distancing rules.

One retail director said Wales was easier because their lockdown was only two weeks long.

In England, the shops will have been closed for a month and “we’ll only have three weeks until Christmas”.

Another boss said that shops in England will be on the wrong side of Black Friday and there will be another load of products to clear that potentially no one wants – not without more heavy discounts.

Earlier this month, the BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor found that retail sales rose year-on-year in October as retailers “found their footing” prior to the second lockdown in England.

Total retail sales increased 4.9 per cent in the four weeks to October 31 against a decline of 0.3 per cent in the same period the previous year, in line with three-month average growth of 4.9 per cent and ahead of the 12-month average decline of 0.7 per cent.

UK-wide retail sales – excluding temporarily closed stores under localised lockdowns and including online sales – increased 5.2 per cent on a like-for-like basis.

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