HIGH street stores including M&S, JD Sports and Dixons Carphone Warehouse have warned many shops might never reopen if lockdown is extended.
The gloomy prediction was issued in an open letter by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) which has been signed by more than 60 retailers.
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Other high street chains that have signed the warning include The Works, River Island, Card Factory and Ann Summers.
The letter, which was sent to The Times, says retailers are losing out on around £2billion per week in sales during the four-week lockdown in England.
If lockdown is extended beyond December 2, the note warns that “many stores” may never reopen – costing hundreds of thousands of retail jobs.
It comes following a separate warning about how toy orders could be rationed this winter due to a surge in online demand as shops remain shut.
Businesses that must shut during the second coronavirus lockdown in England
ACCORDING to guidance published on the gov.uk website, the following businesses must close during the second lockdown:
- Restaurants, pubs and bars, except for takeaway and delivery
- Non-essential retail shops, including electronics and clothing stores, although they can remain open for delivery and click and collect
- Market stalls selling non-essential goods
- Vehicle showrooms
- Travel agents
- Betting shops
- Tobacco and vape shops
- Auction houses
- Car washes
- Accommodation such as hotels and hostels, although they can remain open for visitors travelling for work purposes
- Indoor and outdoor leisure facilities such as bowling alleys, leisure centres and gyms
- Sports facilities including swimming pools, golf courses and driving ranges, dance studios, stables and riding centres, soft play facilities, climbing walls and climbing centres, archery and shooting ranges
- Water and theme parks
- Personal care facilities such as hairdressers, nail salons, spas, tanning salons, massage parlours, tattoo studios and body piercing studios
- Entertainment venues such as theatres, concert halls, cinemas, museums and galleries
- Community centres and halls
- Places of worship, apart from for the purposes of independent prayer, and service broadcasting and funerals
As part of the lockdown, non-essential retailers have been ordered to shut for four weeks in England.
Non-essential retailers include shops that sell toys, clothes and homeware – but stores that sell items such as food and medicine can remain open.
Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have separate lockdown measures in place.
The letter reads: “Retailers have invested hundreds of millions in making their stores Covid-secure, keeping both customers and staff safe.
“Yet retail stands on the brink and decisive Government action is needed to save it.
“Retailers of all shapes and sizes must be allowed to reopen by the start of December.”
In the first few days of lockdown, data from BRC-ShopperTrak showed footfall in stores plummeted by 75%.
November and December, meanwhile, traditionally make up over a fifth of all retail sales, the figures show.
Last month, the BRC urged Brits to be organised and start their Christmas shopping earlier than ever before to avoid chaotic scenes in stores.
As shops are allowing fewer people inside at one time, Brits could face queues outside if shops are too busy during the usual Christmas rush.
It follows separate calls from retail experts at IMRG, the industry body for online retailers, who are predicting home delivery backlogs if Brits leave their shopping until the last minute.
The coronavirus pandemic has seen a surge in households relying on online shopping this year.
Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC, said: “The closure of thousands of retailers is compounding the challenges facing our high streets.
“‘Non-essential’ stores are estimated to be losing £2 billion per week during lockdown – yet rents continue to mount, and the business rates cliff edge is looming.
“To avoid local communities being hit hard by large scale shop closures and job losses, the Chancellor must address three issues – rents, rates and reopening.”
The Sun has asked the Cabinet Office if it'll be responding to the letter and we'll update this article if we get a response.
Last week, grocery shoppers were also warned about Christmas delivery chaos as slots fill up fast.
We've rounded up everything you need to know about Christmas delivery slots 2020 including when to book Tesco, Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose orders.
All shops are enforcing Covid-19 safety measures including asking customers to social distance and wear face masks.
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