Smiling through tiers: Retailers pin hopes on ‘busier December’ as lockdown lifts

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On Thursday, health secretary Matt Hancock rose to his feet in the House of Commons to update MPs and the country about the end of national lockdown on December 2 and a return to the tiered system of restrictions.

Hancock’s role was a tough one. On the one hand, he insisted that the tiered restrictions have been beefed up to better contain the virus and save lives. On the other, he had to allay the anger of an increasingly vocal wing of his own Conservative party, who disagree with the measures, and industry groups who fear vast swathes of the economy will not survive to see the arrival of vaccines in the spring. 

Hancock and the government also had to ward off growing criticism from the scientific community about the rationale behind its plans to relax restrictions across much of the country between December 23 and 27. 

While no retailer is expecting Christmas to be anything like normal this year, businesses are growing increasingly optimistic about how it will play out.

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