UK shopper numbers still 53% lower after shops reopen
The latest figures released by the British Retail Consortium show that shoppers were still cautious about returning to the high street even after non-essential stores were allowed to reopen in England on 15 June.
Shopper numbers were still 53% lower in the second half of June compared to a year earlier.
That compares to a 77% drop in footfall over the first two weeks when only essential shops were open in England.
Overall, footfall was down 62.6% in June, year-on-year. That is a 19 percentage point improvement from May.
Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC, said:
With lockdown measures easing, consumers are slowly re-emerging onto their high streets, shopping centres and retail parks. Footfall levels are still well below pre-coronavirus levels; however, the decline was softer than it was in May thanks to the reopening of non-essential stores on 15 June.
However, she said that the government should be prepared to “step in” and consider further measures to boost demand for retailers like a wider VAT cut:
The chancellor’s economic update earlier this week provided critical interventions to protect jobs and incomes for households across the UK. We hope that some of the generous measures taken to support the hospitality industry will benefit footfall for retailers who are in close proximity to restaurants, bars and cafés.
However, unless footfall returns to UK streets, Government must be prepared to step in and take further action to boost demand, such as widening the VAT cut to include retail goods.
So here’s a rundown of what is reopening in England and and when:
Saturday 11 July: Outdoor pools. Outdoor theatre and music with limited audiences.
Recreational team sports like cricket can also start to return if they can show adequate Covid-secure plans, which the England and Wales Cricket Board has already submitted to government.
Monday 13 July: Beauticians, tattooists, spas, and tanning salons, and other “close contact services” like nail bars.
However, some face-to-face services like face waxing, eyelash treatments, make-up application and facial treatments are not yet allowed.
Saturday 25 July: Indoor gyms, swimming pools and sports facilities.
However, there is new guidance on spacing out and cleaning equipment, plus limiting the number of people in facilities and smaller class sizes.
It’s red across the board as stock markets open for trading in Europe:
- FTSE 100 is down 0.6%
- FTSE 250 is down 0.5%
- France’s CAC 40 is down 0.6%
- Spain’s IBEX is down 0.5%
- Germany’s Dax is down 0.4%
Introduction: Tanning salons, spas, nail bars and gyms prepare to reopen in England
Good morning, and welcome to our rolling coverage of the world economy, the financial markets, the eurozone and business.
Gyms, nail bars, and pools will be among leisure businesses allowed to reopen in England this month after the UK government unveiled the latest easing measures following the coronavirus lockdown on Thursday.
The move will also benefit tanning salons, beauticians, spas and tattooists and other “close contact services,” which have been shut since March.
They are among the last service businesses to reopen, and come after much confusion (and criticism) over which kind of services were safe enough to welcome the public.
But the news came after another jobs bloodbath across the UK, with Boots announcing 4,000 job cuts and John Lewis revealing plans to shutter eight stores putting 1,300 jobs at risk.
The news was also overshadowed by rising US-China tensions and a record rise in coronavirus cases stateside.
Overnight, Washington imposed sanctions on three senior officials of the Chinese Communist party for alleged human rights abuses targeting ethnic and religious minorities, including the local Uighur population.
Meanwhile, markets are understandably worried about the pandemic’s spread across the US, where more than more than 60,500 new Covid-19 infections were recorded across the US yesterday. That is the highest daily tally across any country since the outbreak began.
It has raised fears that the country could be forced back into lockdowns that would hamper the US economic recovery.
- 9.00am BST: Italian Industrial production for May
- 1.:30pm BST: US Producer Price Index for June
- The EU’s Economic and Financial Affairs Council (Ecofin) is also meeting today