By James Davey
LONDON (Reuters) – After more than three months of enforced closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, non-essential stores in England reopen their doors on Monday, hoping that the escape from lockdown will fuel a trading boom.
Industry lobby group, the British Retail Consortium, estimates UK stores have lost 27 billion pounds ($37 billion) in sales over three lockdowns, while 67,000 retail jobs were shed in 2020 alone.
Some 17,532 chain store outlets vanished from high streets, shopping centres and retail parks across the UK last year, according to data compiled by researcher the Local Data Company for accountancy firm PwC.
But with more than half of the UK’s adult population having received at least one of the vaccine’s two doses, analysts do not think shoppers will hold back.
Market researcher Kantar is forecasting that consumers will spend 3.9 billion pounds ($5.3 billion) on the high street in the first week of reopening.
“There was definitely a bounce at the end of the lockdown last year (in June), I would be surprised if the same thing didn’t happen again,” Simon…