As retail reopened last week, there was no getting away from the fact that there was a gaping hole at the heart of town centres and other shopping destinations: the absence of almost any form of recreation.
While the stores were back, many of the other places that draw people in – bars, restaurants, museums and galleries – remained shuttered amid the Covid pandemic. Retail continued to suffer as a result.
The lack of opportunity to enjoy a drink, a bite to eat or a bit of sustenance for the mind and spirit showed just how important wider experiential and leisure appeal is to the consumer business ecosystem.
That was a contributor, no doubt, to the fact that while footfall was unsurprisingly up week on week, as shops emerged from their enforced hibernation, it was still steeply down year on year.
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