Monday 12th April sees the UK’s third lockdown ease significantly with non-essential retail and outdoor hospitality both opening their doors for the first time since 4th January. For those in need of a haircut and a pint of bitter this date could not come sooner, a sentiment shared by businesses too, eager to return to work and some normality.
It was widely reported over the weekend that household savings have risen to a staggering £140 billion due to restrictions in spending ability over the three months of lockdown. Sentiment towards high street shopping has risen from 40% of people feeling comfortable to visit their high street last June to a much more positive 72% (source YouGov). These two ingredients combined should help the retail and hospitality sectors bounce-back over the coming months and provide a lifeline for town and city centres up and down the country.
Once open it will become clear who has survived and who has thrived during lockdown. The Local Data Company (LDC) has identified that by the end of 2020 there were 800 more barbers, 526 more beauty salons and 206 more nail salons than there had been 12 months earlier.
There has been a resurgence in the independent sector helped along by the relaxation of planning laws, and The Chancellor’s direct grants, rates holiday and furlough scheme.
The extent to which they are adapting is beautifully highlighted in that 20% of town centres in Britain had more businesses open in 2020 than close with the majority of these being independents.
The coming months are set to be important and exciting for Britains high streets as we emerge from our homes and back to normality. An unprecedented weight of money and ready supply are set to make a potent cocktail so let’s now hope we can keep the momentum as the next milestone (in England) is set for 17th May and if we can make that it’ll be a game changer.
Allsop’s next commercial auction catalogue is released online on Friday 16th April.
Graphic sourced from printweek.com
Ben is an Associate Partner in the Commercial Auction team.
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