Covid lockdown UK: Seven million to hit High Street next week

It’s Bounce Back Monday! Seven million Britons will hit the High Street in £4.5billion spending spree as the next step on our road to freedom starts

  • Up to seven million shoppers are expected to flood UK high streets next week
  • They will take advantage of extended hours and price cuts as lockdown eases
  • Analysts predict £4.5bn will be splurged in first week due to ‘pent-up demand’ 

A multi-billion-pound spending spree is to begin on ‘Bounce Back Monday’ as shops reopen in the next step towards freedom.

Up to seven million shoppers are expected to flood the high street and take advantage of extended hours and price cuts on the first day of opening after lockdown.

Analysts predict £4.5billion will be splurged in the first week amid enormous ‘pent-up demand’.

Fashion chains, hairdressers, nail bars, electrical retailers, department stores, gyms and other ‘non-essential’ outlets are chasing a share of the spree.

Crowds of shoppers are seen on Oxford Street on December 2, 2020 in London, England

Pubs, cafes and restaurants will also open again for outdoor food and drink – and alcohol takeaways – on what some have dubbed the ‘Glorious Twelfth’.

Economists say households are sitting on £159.5billion in ‘excess savings’ as a result of missing out on holidays, eating out and cutting spending in other areas such as clothing and commuting.

As much as £45.5billion of this will be set aside for spending, with a large proportion splashed out this summer, according to the Centre for Economics and Business Research.

But the damage of the past year will be irreversible for some high street outlets. Debenhams will be opening its stores on Monday but only to host a closing-down sale with discounts up to 70 per cent on fashion and homeware, and 50 per cent on beauty products.

Currys PC World is opening 249 outlets with extended hours and a clearance sale promising savings of up to 70 per cent.

Christmas shoppers on The Hayes on December 19, 2020 in Cardiff, Wales

Lisa Hooker, head of consumer markets at PwC, said: ‘You will see a big bang, particularly if the weather is good. There is enormous pent-up demand.

‘Retailers were quite cautious when we came out of lockdown last year but this time there is far more excitement.’

Many retailers are extending their trading hours in line with new Government guidelines. Primark plans to open stores for an extra two hours a day, while Next and Fenwick have also indicated stores could stay open later.

John Lewis executive director Pippa Wicks said: ‘It’s a real party atmosphere when we reopen.

‘There is definitely a burning desire to buy things to head out and meet friends and family with – it’s the return of retail therapy. Now we’ve got immunisations, there will be an increased confidence compared with last year.’

Marks & Spencer’s Alison Grainger said: ‘We know lots of customers are excited about dressing up for picnics and alfresco dining with friends and family and our stores will be bursting with tiered dresses, pretty tops and new seasonal denim.’

Dragons’ Den retail guru Theo Paphitis, who owns Ryman, Robert Dyas and Boux Avenue, anticipates an initial rush, saying shoppers are ‘chomping at the bit’.

Analysis by the Centre for Retail Research predicts spending of £600million on Monday, with seven million shoppers on the streets. 

It estimates spending for the week at £4.5billion based on more than 50million shopping visits.

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