HIGH Street shops will kick-start their recovery tomorrow as they begin to claw back £30billion in lost lockdown sales.
Queues are expected outside stores when non-essential retail opens for the first time since their doors were slammed shut four months ago.
🔵 Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates...Queues are expected outside stores when non-essential retail opens for the first time in four monthsCredit: AFP
Department stores, gift shops and fashion chains will be among those welcoming back shoppers in the next stage of relaxing Covid restrictions.
With pubs also reopening for customers seated outdoors, some four million Brits are set to hit the boozer in the next week.
But five times as many — around 20million — plan to hit the shops.
And Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said the sector will be closely monitoring the recovery after the initial spending spree.
She added: “The three lockdowns have cost non-food stores approximately £30billion in lost sales — and it’s vital that they are able to make their contribution to the UK’s economic recovery.
“While we expect an initial surge in spending when shops first open, the real test will be how this holds up. Retailers are excited about welcoming back their customers.Some four million Brits are set to hit the boozer in the next weekCredit: Louis Wood News Group Newspapers Ltd Around 20million people plan to hit the shops in the next weekCredit: Getty Shoppers will also be enticed by offers available for the return of non-essential retailCredit: PA
“They have spent hundreds of millions of pounds on making their premises Covid-secure, weeks preparing shops for reopening and countless hours training staff on the latest safety measures.”
Experts suggest £1billion could be spent tomorrow alone.
Professor Joshua Bamfield, director of the Centre for Retail Research, said: “Twenty million people are expected in shops this week. People can’t wait to get back.
“Monday’s spending could be close to £1billion across non-essential retail and food stores.
“They haven’t been shopping for three months and shoppers like seeing the choice of what to buy and seeing other people. You can’t do that online.
"Retailers want to get rid of stock and they know discounts will encourage people into stores.
“It’s your duty to go out and shop if you want to see successful and profitable stores.
"Many bosses will be making decisions on how many stores they keep open next year depending on how well they do in the coming weeks and months.”
Tomorrow will also see shaggy-haired folk welcomed back to hairdressers and salons.
Outdoor attractions including zoos and theme parks will be open, too — along with libraries, gyms, swimming pools and galleries.
And households will be able to stay overnight for UK breaks in self-contained accommodation, campsites or holiday lets.
Many people will see tomorrow as an unofficial Bank Holiday by taking the day off work to take advantage of major parts of the economy re-opening — as Brits sit on an estimated £160billion of excess savings built up in lockdown.
BrightHR, which monitors annual leave at more than 10,000 workplaces, said: “It’s fair to say April 12 is the most requested day off in the last year, excluding Christmas, Easter and summer holidays.”Shaggy-haired folk will be welcomed back to hairdressers and salonsCredit: Getty 15,000 boozers — 40 per cent of the total in England — will re-open tomorrow for outside drinkingCredit: PA Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng received a letter from retail leaders in London demanding an extension to Sunday trading hoursCredit: Alamy
As millions look forward to the taste of a pub pint, the British Beer and Pub Association said 15,000 boozers — 40 per cent of the total in England — will re-open tomorrow for outside drinking.
Beer gardens the size of a rugby pitch, Glastonbury-style tepees, “cosy” pubs recreated outdoors and giant kids’ play areas will greet eager pub-goers.
The Centre for Economics and Business Research forecasts £314million will be spent by those drinking and dining outdoors in the first week of rules being relaxed alone.
Shoppers will also be enticed by offers available for the return of non-essential retail.
John Lewis has launched a value range called Anyday, which costs about 20 per cent less than its normal range.
There will be 2,400 items discounted from tomorrow — including a £499 three-seater sofa, an aluminium mirror for £20, a shower radio at £39 and a £35 high chair.
Meanwhile, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has received a letter from retail leaders in London demanding an extension to Sunday trading hours to boost the capital.
The next stage of the relaxation of Covid restrictions is expected from May 17 at the earliest and will allow a “rule of six” or a two household limit indoors.
Pubs and restaurants will also be subject to the same rules, while a limited number of fans will be allowed into sporting events and hotels and B&Bs will re-open.
The earliest possible date for all legal limits on social contact being removed is June 21.
Daily UK Covid cases fall by 7% in a week as 3,150 more infections and another 60 die days before lockdown eases