high street reopen 15th

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has said that retail recovery remains fragile due to COVID-19 restrictions, but is urging the UK Government not to close stores during the important run-up to Christmas.

The call not to close shops in the UK follows recent ONS Retail Sales Index figures, which showed a 5.8 percent increase in overall sales.

However, the BRC notes that retailers up and down the country have had to spend hundreds of millions to ensure their stores are COVID-secure and to keep their staff and customers safe.

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Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium, commented: “The retail recovery remains fragile as the industry enters the all-important Christmas period, with November and December typically accounting for over a fifth of annual sales.

“While food and online retail continued to show strong growth, high street shopping has struggled in recent months, with footfall still down by over a third.  Tighter Government restrictions have taken their toll on fashion and beauty sales, while home office and computing equipment has benefitted.

“Retailers have spent hundreds of millions to make stores Covid-secure and keep staff and customers safe. Furthermore, they are encouraging the public to shop early for Christmas and prevent the last minute rush, so that everyone – from shoppers to warehouse workers – have the space they need to stay safe and well.

“Retail has proven itself to be a responsible industry during this pandemic, and Government should not risk the retail recovery by closing stores during the all-important run up to Christmas.”

Earlier this year, the BRC shared five steps to help retailers encourage safe and considerate shopping.

The advice is intended to help create a safe retail environment for both retail staff and shoppers, with the five steps being: queue considerately; maintain social distancing; follow instructions inside and outside shops; follow all necessary hygiene measures; and be respectful to shop staff.

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