Home and furniture stores such as IKEA, outdoor non-food markets and car showrooms were given the go ahead to reopen on Monday 1st June. A broader range of retailers is due to follow suit, with clothes, toys and electronic shops, booksellers, indoor markets and tailors, able to reopen on Monday 15th June.
Chains such as Primark and John Lewis will be welcoming customers, but retailers must adapt their stores to abide by Government distancing guidelines. Mirroring the lockdown procedures seen in supermarkets, measures will include queuing systems to limit the number of people in stores, plastic screens at tills, thorough cleaning routines and supplying staff with necessary PPE.
Many clothing stores are reviewing further measures such as closed changing rooms, restrictions on touching items and quarantining returned items for up to 72 hours, before returning them to the shop floor.
With the new reopening date two weeks later than many had hoped, stores will be doing everything they can to bounce back. The British Retail Consortium (BRC) represents high street stores and have recently shared that lockdown cost non-food stores a huge £1.8bn in lost sales each week. The BRC’s Chief Executive, Helen Dickinson, commented: “With sales expected to remain weak, even as shops begin to reopen, many retailers will be in a fight for survival.”
Primark, which offers no ecommerce resulting in a loss of around £650m a month throughout lockdown, are setting themselves up for a huge rebound, as they recently unveiled plans to open stores with their biggest sale yet.