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Shoppers flock back to stores to record the busiest day of retail since lockdown

SHOPPERS made sure yesterday was the busiest retail day since lockdown.

Footfall was up 30 per cent on average on last week in high streets, shopping centres and outlets across England.

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TV presenter Holly Willoughby with bagfuls of goods at an M&S in  Richmond, South West London[/caption]

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Footfall was up 30 per cent on average on last week in high streets, shopping centres and outlets across England.[/caption]

Some areas even enjoyed a 50 per cent increase, sector analysts Springboard revealed.

There were queues outside Harrods in London while Primarks were “as packed as ever”.

People were determined to seize their chance to hit the stores on the first Saturday since March that non-essential retailers were allowed to lift their shutters.

There were deals to be found and more bargains have been promised for today.

‘BIGGEST EVER SALE’

Initially, reopening stores had been hesitant over offers as they wanted to avoid stampedes.

But most have now taken measures to lure in shoppers — with Currys PC World going as far as to pledge its “biggest ever” sale.

Primark has all of its 153 shops in England operating, while John Lewis has 13 of 50 operating but will open nine more on Thursday.

One Primark worker tweeted: “I’ve never seen the shop in such a mess and so busy, queues were going for hours.”

Yet customer Danielle Barnwell tweeted about Primark: “I went to Bluewater Shopping Centre in Kent, there is supposed to be a limit on the number of customers allowed in store at any one time.

“It’s not safe at all when the store is as packed as it was before lockdown, if not before.”

Those venturing out did find a different shopping experience.

JOHN McLELLAN

Drinkers enjoy outdoor pints in Southwold[/caption]

Splash News

The new normal with open-air bar tables in London’s King’s Cross[/caption]

 

Banned from trying on outfits and greeted by staff wearing visors and masks, they were invited to sanitise their hands.

In London’s Regent Street, designer stores checked customer temperatures before allowing them inside to browse.

Percentage footfall rises were lower in London as people had been out last weekend, when pubs offered takeaway services.

In Wales and Scotland, where rules on non-essential shops have not been eased, increases were smaller. Northern Ireland saw big jumps like those in England.

All week in England, numbers have been up by a third compared to seven days before.

But with restaurants and cafes staying shut, and with some Brits wary of going out, experts say figures will not yet get back to normal.

Despite the boost, overall numbers out shopping were half what they were this time last year.

Diane Wehrle, from Springboard, said: “We still have a little way to go. Not all shops are open.

“Crucially, there are no cafes, restaurants and pubs open. These draw people out as well as shops and they keep them out for longer.

“We don’t browse in shops as much as we did due to the web. We can check out products before we hit the high street.

“So when people go out, they go for lunch or coffee or a pint.”

This Morning’s Holly Willoughby, 39, made the most of her post-lockdown shopping experience — as she loaded up with Marks & Spencer food essentials in Richmond, South West London.

And for those who did not go for retail therapy, a pint in the sunshine was the order of the day.

In London’s King’s Cross, enterprising bars used outside seating with ample social distancing between the tables. Tourist punts on the River Cam in Cambridge were tested with Perspex screens and the crew wearing shields.


Boris Johnson rejected a plea from pub bosses to give them an update by Friday at the latest on when and how they could reopen.

But it is now widely expected they will be allowed to pull pints again from July 4.

Guidance will encourage pub goers to order drinks using phone apps instead of going to the bar, while current legislation was said to include the powers for patrols.

GEOFF ROBINSON.

New-style punt with screen in Cambridge[/caption]

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Shoppers back on the streets in Southampton[/caption]

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Shoppers happy to join the queue[/caption]

 

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