After three months of shuttered doors due to the coronavirus, English non-essential retail reopened to the public on Monday. Retail Week analyses the lessons to be learnt from the first days of trading.
Much has changed since Boris Johnson shut down the UK on March 24. In the intervening months, the economy has ground to a halt, tens of thousands of people have died of Covid-19 and social distancing has become the norm.
In this strange new world, English ‘non-essential’ retailers began to reopen stores on Monday. With many national chains choosing to take a phased approach to reopening, June 15 was always going to be more a symbol of progress rather than a return to normal – new or otherwise.
While pictures of snaking, socially distanced queues outside of Primark, Sports Direct and Zara stores up and down England led the national news, many customers chose to stay away. Those who were out cut wary figures, many clad in masks.
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