While 4 July is celebrated as Independence Day in US, In UK too it wasn’t different this time.
The Government had eased the lockdown restrictions starting 4 July, and the British Prime Minister had termed it Independence Day in the UK – independence probably from all the struggles and uncertainties that have been plaguing the retail sector since last 4 months.
Contrary to expectations, it was a mixed day for retailers with independent retailers having a good day at the office and multiples worried over the erratic trading.
The Dressing Room, a premium independent womenswear retailer based in St. Albans, witnessed good footfall on 4 July and applauded Government’s decision. More on this Deryane Tadd, Owner, said “The feel was same as on a usual Saturday be it in terms of buzz, footfall and turnover.”
Master Debonair, a menswear retailer, was also happy with the sales, which have been growing steadily week by week. “Our sales have surged by 20 per cent each week since we reopened. While Boldon and Chesterfield are doing well, London is very quiet,” said Simon Whitaker, Owner, Master Debonair.
However, it wasn’t great for multiples or those who have more branches. A womenswear multiple in Bradford went to the extent of saying that it was not a Super Saturday and by 2 PM, everything came to standstill.
Sharing same sentiments, lot of retailers said that since pubs and restaurants also opened on Saturday, trade got affected as people preferred going out for eating and drinking rather than shopping.
Another retailer said that the recent lockdown in Leicester shows the fragility of the situation and if there is a national lockdown again, many businesses will not be able survive without Government support.
Applauding Government for being very supportive, Simon said that the major issue for everyone is cash flow and he urged the Government to consider VAT relief for 3 to 6 months so as to help businesses get back on their feet.
On the whole, 4 July may not be called a ‘Dull Saturday’, but still it’s far from being called an ‘Independence Day’ in true sense for UK retail sector.