Retailers fling open their doors!

S 12

o restrictions are finally starting to ease across the UK, and certain things are

beginning to feel slightly normal again, like catching up with friends and family… and going to the shops! At long last, retailers were able to fling open their doors earlier this month and welcome customers back inside their stores. It’s a huge step forward, and from what I hear across the industry it’s been an incredibly busy few weeks for all of you, which is brilliant! I have spoken in previous issues

about consumers’ pent-up demand following this latest lockdown and I think it’s safe to say we definitely saw that notion play out on high streets across the country. Companies like Primark, JD Sports and TK Maxx saw hordes of customers lining the streets when they reopened; shoppers began queuing at 7am at Primark shops in London’s Oxford Street and Birmingham as the fashion retailer reopened 161 of its stores! Elsewhere, John Lewis opened up

most of its doors to reasonable crowds – I think proving that despite its online counterpart, customers still wanted that in-store experience where they could touch, feel and interact with products… a very important element for all types of businesses across the consumer electricals industry.

I’m sure our towns’ and cities’ high streets will enjoy their much- needed reinvigoration

I say ‘most’ as the retail giant did

in fact permanently close eight of its 42 stores in a “rebalancing” operation due to the pandemic and the “pronounced shift to online” it said. Down in Dorset, staff at

Hughes Electrical Store Manager, Louise Culyer, and Area Manager, Darren Clements, getting ready to welcome back customers

independent ERT Award-winning electrical retailer, Dacombes of Wimborne, were very happy to be reopening and welcoming back their loyal customers. When I caught up with Managing

Director, Matt Renaut, recently he said the team was ready and raring to go!”

The team at Dacombes of Wimborne excited to be back “It’s been a long third lockdown and

while we have been dealing with customers over the phone or online, we can’t wait to finally open our doors again and invite people back into the store. You can’t beat a proper conversation with a customer while the products are there in front of you to demonstrate. We’re so happy to be doing demonstrations in our home cinema room and talking about full installations again!” And in East Anglia, Essex and the

Midlands, Hughes Electrical reopened all 32 of its stores on 12 April. Said Chairman, Robert Hughes:

“It is a great boost for us to have all our doors open again – and for the

staff to get back to work. We know just how important it is for our customers to be able to visit their local store, where they can gauge TV picture quality for example, or see how effective a vacuum cleaner is first-hand, while having the opportunity to ask questions face- to-face.” With some simple procedures in

place, retail stores can continue to be safe places to visit. And with the world slowly edging back towards normality – or, to coin a much-used phrase, something akin to a new normal – I’m sure our towns’ and cities’ high streets will enjoy their much-needed reinvigoration.

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April 2021

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