Sara’s Blog: Shops reopening to boost economy

Today is a huge day for retailers as many reopen their doors for the first time after weeks of lockdown.

Although food shops, pharmacies, banks, and other essential retailers have stayed open, most high street establishments have been closed since March 23rd.

I have already heard reports of long queues at shopping centres and retail parks as shoppers finally get the chance to visit their favourite retailers.

Shopping, however, will be very different post lockdown, with two metre markings, screens at the tills, changing rooms changed and limited numbers of shoppers allowed in at a time.

Its also a very nervous time for retailers as there are anxieties that online shopping has become such a habit that it will be hard to win back customers. Also, will customer levels return to normal after the initial novelty fades in a week or so. Let’s not forget household budgets have been slashed for millions of families.

Shops will face the same running costs and a drop in sales of, say 20 per cent, could prove disastrous for many smaller independent shops who do not have the cash reserves to bolster a downturn in business.

Chancellor, Rishi Sunak yesterday urged Britain to go on a spending spree to help us bounce back from the crisis caused by Covid-19. He wants the nation to reawaken its “lion-spirit” to give shops a roaring trade.

A great sentiment and rallying call and I hope it translates into pounds in the tills.

The Chambers is here to offer all the support we can to retailers. We have specialists in marketing, HR and finance who can offer specific advice and guidance.

We also have a bank of almost 200 business mentors, all experienced business people and many with years of business to consumer experience. You can access their expertise for free through our Let’s do Mentoring programme.

Please contact Ann Steele at the Chambers if you would like to talk about help from a mentor:

If you want to talk to us about any business issues, you can call our switchboard on 01782 202222 or call the Stoke and Staffs Growth Hub Helpline on 0300 111 8002. We also have a Twitter hour each Tuesday and Friday from 11am – 12noon #StaffsChamberChat

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