A survey of 5,500 people in 11 countries by investment bank Jefferies has concluded that over half of people in the UK hope to back out on the high street within two weeks, but about 80 per cent expect it will take another month before this is really possible.
Serious concerns about jobs and finances, however, mean that only one in five plan to hit the shops as soon as the lockdown ends. 15 per cent of consumers think it will take them at least three months to get back into their shopping habits, while 5 per cent plan to transition more fully to online purchases.
Many people felt the experience of the C19 crisis will change them and the world for the better and have confidence that their governments are handling things well. People in the USA and Asia are more keen to get back to normal – and to get back to the shops – than those in Europe.
Some countries, including Germany, are expected to ease their lockdown measures over the next few weeks and months, whilst Sweden has become the wildcard by not locking much down at all.
The cataclysmic decline in footfall in British high street retailing is threatening to destabilise the entire economy, as struggling retailers go over the brink into administration and suppliers wait anxiously for payments. The BRC ShopperTrak monitor said footfall had plummeted by 44.7 per cent after the lockdown put in place on March 23, following a 17.7 per cent decline in the three weeks before lockdown.
According to online advertising firm, Criteo, some of the top items being purchased by British consumers during the lockdown, resulting in big upswings compared with 2019 internet sales, are: Olive Oil (563%); outdoor play equipment (+480.5%); game consoles (+412.9%); painkillers (+322.1%); water filters (+298.8%); free weights for lifting (+273.4%); yoga mats (+266.9%); laptop computers (+250.6%); gift bags (+234.4%) and board games (+225.1%)
There was also an increase in the use of convenience stores in March.
Famous stores including Debenhams, Cath Kidston and Laura Ashely have closed and fashion retailers such as Oasis and Warehouse go bust. Topshop and Miss Selfridge may follow suit and Primark – which along with H&M is refusing to pay rent to landlords – has seen sales plunge from £650mn to zero.
John Lewis paid out £939.773 to former MD, Paula Nickolds, who was ousted from her position in January amidst hudreds of job losses at the bellwether department store chain. The group also gave an £892,362 pay packet given to Rob Collins, who was MD of Waitrose until he stepped down in October when the group’s restructuring was announced. The Group has also furloughed 14,000 staff after closing all of its 50 stores.