Thursday 30 April 2020 12:01 am

Shoppers wary about life after lockdown as restrictions cost UK retailers £2.7bn a week

Most shoppers are wary about hitting the high street when the coronavirus lockdown is relaxed, the latest research indicated, as it was revealed that UK retailers have lost out on £2.7bn in sales each week.

The lockdown, which forced all non-essential UK retailers to close from 23 March, has cost the industry £2.7bn in lost non-food sales each week of the lockdown, totalling more than £13.5bn so far. 

Read more: Coronavirus: UK retailers have worst month since 2008

Just 10 per cent of consumers said they would return to normality if restrictions were lifted on 7 May, when the current lockdown is due to be reviewed by the government.

In total, 40 per cent said they would be “extremely cautious”, 37 per cent said they would remain “a bit cautious” and 13 per cent said they would stay in lockdown. 

More than a quarter of consumers surveyed by Retail Economics said the coronavirus outbreak would have a permanent impact on the way they shop.  

The research published this morning indicates that the UK’s beleaguered high street is likely to face a slow recovery from the impact of the coronavirus crisis. 

Just five per cent of shoppers believe the restrictions will be completely lifted on 7 May, with 49 per cent saying the lockdown will be extended for a further three weeks. 

A third of respondents expected some restrictions to start to ease in a week. 

Retail Economics chief executive Richard Lim said: “The road to recovery for the retail sector is likely to be slow and protracted as consumers feel uneasy about returning to normal life when restrictions ease.

Read more: Coronavirus pandemic ‘worse than financial crisis’ for UK retail sector

“Shoppers will put their safety first and will initially avoid shopping in crowded locations unless absolutely necessary. 

“A safe shopping environment will become a top priority for consumers, impacting their choice of whom to shop with and where. This is likely to lead to more local shopping which avoids public transport and crowded destinations in enclosed spaces.”

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