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Shoppers flock to high streets as restrictions are lifted

Pubs, cafes and restaurants in England also able open for customers seated outdoors

Shoppers have rushed back to high streets across the country as a range of non-essential retail outlets have reopened their doors for the first time in over three months.

According to analysts at Springboard, the number of people out by 10am had more than tripled in comparison to the Monday before and was only 15% less than 2019 levels.

Despite snow falling and cold temperatures throughout, shopping centres reported the most significant increase in footfall, followed by the high streets.

Customers waited in queues on London’s Oxford Street early on Monday, outside stores such as Primark, John Lewis and Selfridges.

Pubs, cafes and restaurants in England are also able to open for customers seated outdoors.

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Restrictions have been amended since the last time pubs were open, as people are no longer required to order a substantial meal with alcoholic beverages. Also, there is no 10pm curfew.

Commenting on the reopening of the food service industry, Mark Lynch, Partner at corporate finance house, Oghma Partners, said: 

“The food service industry will be relieved that we have come through a tough shuttered winter and have now reached the start of the unlocking process. Whilst it is likely that only half of UK pubs will open due to lack of outside space, and restaurants perhaps an even lower percentage, the 12th April should, we hope, mark the first steps in the return of the industry to business as normal and the start of a painful rebuild of industry activity, cashflow and eventually balance sheets,” Lynch said.

“Undoubtedly we will see consolidation in the sector as the winners and losers from the recovery emerge. At this next phase of the crisis however, the focus is likely to be very much on supplying the customer and getting back to ‘normal’. What may surprise is the number of lessons learnt around cost and the positive implications that this could have for profitability which will, no doubt, emerge in due course.”


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