Peter Williams: ‘To fully restart retail we need a return to pre-Covid behaviour’

Peter Williams

When asked my views about looking forward for retail, the honest answer is: “I’m really not sure that I know.”

We can all make educated guesses, but I cannot remember a time when we have been faced with such uncertainty as when we – hopefully – re-emerge from lockdown on a permanent basis over the next few months.

‘Non-essential’ retail stores have reopened. There may well be some initial euphoria – just look at the advance bookings for restaurants – but there is a great danger in interpreting this period of trading as a trend in either the longer or even the medium term. 

Putting aside the disruption created by Covid, the macroeconomic situation isn’t great. Economic growth was difficult before the pandemic – UK GDP grew by a mere 1.4% in 2019. 

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