Non-essential shops have reopened across England just in time for cooped-up shoppers to hit the high street in search of presents. But like almost everything in 2020, Christmas shopping will be different this year. Struggling high street retailers are hoping a last-minute Christmas shopping rush will turn their fortunes around.
This, combined with the ongoing effects of the pandemic, have led to some unusual developments on the holly-decked high street. Here, we take you through what to expect.
Please note: since non-essential shops are closed under Northern Ireland’s latest lockdown, none of these points will apply. But many of them will once shops reopen.
1. You can shop 24 hours
Ever fancied popping into Primark at 3am? Well, this year you can. The government has waived restrictions on shops’ opening hours, meaning retailers are free to welcome customers around the clock if they wish.
Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick wrote in the Telegraph that this will ensure ‘more pleasant and safer shopping with less pressure on public transport’. But will anyone actually do it?
In a snap Twitter poll, most Which? Money followers said they probably wouldn’t. Only a third showed interest in the idea.
The second question is whether retailers themselves will opt to stay open for longer. So far, Primark is the highest-profile chain to announce plans to stay open all hours. Some 11 of its stores have already begun trading around the clock.
There may be less appetite from local independent traders, however.
Andrew Goodacre, CEO of the British Independent Retailers Association (Bira), told Which?: ‘We do not expect independent retailers to [stay open] 24 hours, but they would welcome the opportunity to do more late night shopping in the run-up to the very important festive period.’
2. Your favourite shops might have ...
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