Many will groan at the thought of discussing the Christmas period during summer. However, with retailers predicting the COVID-19 outbreak equating to three winters of custom, the festive season is a becoming a necessary period of hope for the British high street to look forward to.
Businesses are diligently looking to preserve their custom, looking to find ways in which they can operate safely and efficiently while also earning enough to enable their continued activity. This has seen huge levels of migration to online retail coupled with widespread delivery services. Even after brick and mortar stores are able to reopen, the popularity of these assets will continue.
High street business owners are using the time of closure to remodel their stores, often installing PPE stations for staff and separators for safe checkout. Restaurants are looking to reconfigure their entire layouts so as to allow customers to dine indoors comfortably, adhering to the single metre guideline issued by the Conservative government for social distancing. Demand for new styles of retail furniture is rising, including requests for custom designed pieces, such as those offered by Crown Display.
As retailers and other businesses show how quickly they are able to adapt, the situation is gradually becoming easier. The British government easing its lockdown and social distancing measures are relaxed. This means that certain businesses, such as theatres and bars, have a greater likelihood of being able to operate.
Additionally, shops are beginning to reopen to great demand. Multiple businesses around the UK, such as Primark, have seen extensive queues as customers prove themselves eager to shop on the high street once more. Whether this is a novelty is yet to be seen but, as the end of lockdown seems to be coinciding with the run-up to Christmas, it looks like the high street may become very busy indeed.
One of the most interesting results of retail during the pandemic has been the shift in demand. Certain products, such as home gym equipment and bread making tools, have become desperately sought after, as well as home office equipment like monitors and desks. Looking toward the Christmas period, there are predictions that retailers will have to stock their greeting card units up to keep up with the demand as customers become increasingly tired of virtual greetings over the year.
While it seems ultimately difficult to predict whether customers will feel comfortable creating the usual festive rushes in December, it is looking more likely that there will be prosperity for British businesses. This is because many holidays remain cancelled and they are being replaced with staycation alternatives, leading people to spend more of their money within the country. So, many cities and towns around the UK are likely to see growth in the number of day-tripping customers wanting to spend time elsewhere.
It is likely that local and smaller businesses, greatly supported during the lockdown, will be the most well-received during Christmas. After communities rallied around them during Spring and social media sites, such as Facebook, created direct methods of support, their value has been made clear. When people begin shopping for their Christmas gifts, they are set to be the go-to shops.