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Shoppers return to the high street as stores reopen

The easing of lockdown measures across England which enabled many stores to open after three months saw a surge of consumers descend upon high streets, retail parks and shopping centres. Analysis by Springboard shows that as of 5pm on Monday, footfall was 38.8% higher than a week ago. All shops in England are now allowed to open, but with strict safety measures, with stores having to ensure social distancing rules are adhered to and plastic screens are in place at tills.

HMV owner Doug Putman told the BBC's Today programme that he expected a rush in the first week of trading but warned that retailers will come under pressure if shoppers do not return in the same numbers as before the lockdown, saying that if operating costs remain the same but sales dip 20% “it makes a lot of companies unviable.” The British Retail Consortium has warned that reopening stores is unlikely to deliver an immediate b oost for the sector and is urging ministers to help stimulate demand with a short-term cut in VAT or a temporary income tax reduction.

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