Retail after Covid-19 – How will the High Street Change?
The easing of lockdown has begun. As we move into ‘phase one’ of the Government’s easing of the lockdown plan we are allowed to exercise outside for unlimited periods, visit parks and outdoor spaces with one other socially distanced person. Even our children are due to return to school on June 1st.
So, where does that lead the retail sector? According to the Government’s guidelines, if things continue to head in the right direction, we may be able to visit our favourite retail outlets in the not-to-distant future. So, retail after Covid-19 – how will the high street change?
One thing is certain; social distancing is here to stay. Following on from Supermarkets and other stores, we will need to maintain a 2-metre distance from others at all time.
Shops may limit the number of customers they have in store at any one time; there will be additional safety guidance for retailers before they can open their stores to customers.
These guidelines include:
- Screens or barriers to separate people from each other
- A one-way flow system through stores with floor markings and signage
- Use contactless payment where possible
One potential bonus will be the inevitable sales that will come with the re-opening of stores. With almost £15bn of stock to clear (according to retail analysts), this will, no doubt, lure us back to the high street. With the warehouse’s full of unsold stock, there are bound to be many sales, all competing with each other.
The question is – how keen are we to go back to high street shopping? Online shopping (mainly for clothes) has become our only option in recent weeks. With many stores offering free collection for returns and contactless delivery, it may have become a far more pleasant and less worrying way to shop.
As with all things at the moment, we must wait and see. Government guidance isn’t (as yet) offering any explicit instructions on when high street stores will be re-opening.
It remains to be seen precisely what regulations will be in place before we can start visiting retail stores. So, for the time being, we must sit back and continue to do our shopping online, in the comfort of our own homes!
With this in my mind, it may be that many people decide to continue shopping online as opposed to going back to the queues, changing rooms and crowds (particularly during sale seasons).
COVID-19 may have helped transform our shopping habits forever.