Non-essential stores in England, which have been closed since 23 March 2020, have reopened this week (15th June 2020).
It was announced last week that the UK economy had shrunk by a record 20.4% in April 2020. High street stores had been hoping that their reopening would help to plug the gap in profit which they sustained during the lockdown period.
Despite the shops opening to the public again, it appears that overall footfall rates are still much lower than this time last year, and retailers have the added pressure of enforcing social distancing measures in stores.
Whilst retailers hope that they might now be able to get back on track, there is the added concern that consumers may have reservations about visiting stores for their own safety, following 12 weeks of lockdown.
On the other hand, hopefully the reopening of retail stores will contribute significantly to the UK's economic recovery.
Demand across England's High Streets, retail parks and shopping centres surged on Monday as some shops reopened after a three-month lockdown. Research firm Springboard said that by 17:00, footfall was 38.8% higher than last week, as pent-up demand led to reports of long queues. However, shopper numbers were generally far below the same time last year.