Retail faces a ‘nightmare before Christmas’
Responding to the prime minister’s announcement of a national lockdown, Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said: “Retail faces a nightmare before Christmas as the government proposes to close thousands of retail premises under this new national lockdown, denying customers access to many of their favourites shops and brands. It will cause untold damage to the high street in the run up to Christmas, cost countless jobs, and permanently set back the recovery of the wider economy, with only a minimal effect on the transmission of the virus.
“A recent Sage paper reported that closing ‘non-essential’ retail would have minimal impact on the transmission of Covid. This is thanks to the hundreds of millions of pounds retailers have spent making their stores Covid-secure and safe for customers and colleagues.
“The announced closure will have a significant economic impact on the viability of thousands of shops and hundreds of thousands of jobs across the country. The previous lockdown cost ‘non-essential’ shops £1.6bn a week in lost sales; now that we are entering the all-important Christmas shopping period, these losses are certain to be much bigger.
“We have no doubt that retailers will comply with the rules and play their part to ensure the British public can remain safe and have access to the goods they need. Nonetheless, government must also play its part, providing support to businesses that will be forced to close, otherwise the consequences for local retail will be dire.”