Only half of UK shops have reopened since easing of lockdown - LDC
Only 52% of retail units have reopened since the lockdown restrictions were eased, with Greater London having one of the lowest reopening rates across England, new research has found.
The Local Data Company surveyed over 111,000 retail units across 164 towns and cities between 23 May and 1 July, and it found that many businesses that rely on office workers and tourists to trade have delayed their reopening plans.
Some 74% of stores selling physical goods such as clothing, shoes and homewares had reopened at the time of the survey, compared with only 64% of food and entertainment operators. Less than half of all chain coffee shops had reopened as companies were severely impacted by the lockdown, working from home and a change in consumer behaviour.
Additionally, just 40% of travel agents had reopened at the time of the survey due to international travel restrictions and reduced demand.
Across Great Britain, just 43% of shops in the East Midlands had reopened by 1 July, and only 44% of stores in Greater London. London was faring worse than the rest of the country due to its reliance on office workers, tourists and the fact that the hospitality sector remained closed until 4 July.
Lucy Stainton, head of retail and strategic partnerships at the Local Data Company, commented: “Based on this initial research, an increase in empty shops across many high streets is likely as businesses struggle to weather the pandemic. Despite having the opportunity to trade, many businesses have chosen not to as yet, especially in London where footfall is taking much longer to return and opening stores becomes economically unviable.
“Only time will tell how many of these temporary closures will become permanent as many retailers take a careful, phased approach to reopening. A mixture of low footfall, strict guidelines around social distancing and face masks being mandatory in shops from later on this month creates the most challenging environment in recent history for our retailers.”
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