Queues at Primark as national lockdown ends and shops reopen

April Roach
·2-min read
<p>Long queues formed outside Primark in Oxford Street</p> (Jeremy Selwyn)

Long queues formed outside Primark in Oxford Street

(Jeremy Selwyn)

Long queues formed outside Primark in London this morning as the national lockdown came to an end and shops reopened on what has been dubbed “Wild Wednesday”.

Most of England is under Tier 2 and 3 of the new Covid-19 restrictions which limits social contact between households, but allows non-essential shops to reopen.

Shoppers appeared to welcome the return of Primark, which does not have an online shop, as they flocked to the clothes retailer on Wednesday morning.

People were also seen queuing outside Footlocker and Nike Town in Oxford Street.

Many shops have introduced measures to limit the number of people entering shops, as well as enforcing social distancing rules, setting up hand sanitiser stations and carrying out more frequent deep cleaning.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said: “Thousands of retailers are looking forward to welcoming back customers.

“Safety remains the biggest priority for retailers, who have spent hundreds of millions to make stores Covid-secure.

“With billions in sales lost during lockdown, stores are looking to offer a safe and enjoyable shopping experience to bring back customers.

“Christmas is around the corner so everyone has a reason to be visiting their local shops.

<p>Some shoppers wear face masks as they queue outside Nike Town</p>Jeremy Selwyn

Some shoppers wear face masks as they queue outside Nike Town

Jeremy Selwyn

“Every purchase we make is a retailer helped, a job protected and a local community supported.”

The Associated British Foods Plc (ABF), the owner of Primark, temporarily closed 57 per cent of its total selling space on November 5 at the start of the second lockdown.

<p>Shoppers woke up bright and early on Wednesday morning to queue outside Primark</p>Jeremy Selwyn

Shoppers woke up bright and early on Wednesday morning to queue outside Primark

Jeremy Selwyn

“Our estimated loss of sales for these stores, including the stores in England, for the announced periods of closure is £375m,” said ABF.

It comes amid a high street bloodbath, with the jobs of around 25,000 staff at Arcadia and Debenhams hanging in the balance.

Some 13,000 staff at Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia Group face an anxious wait following the business collapsing into administration, and Debenhams, which is already in administration, said it would start a liquidation process after JD Sports confirmed it had pulled out of a possible rescue. The department store has around 12,000 staff.

Debenhams said it would continue to trade through its 124 UK stores and online to clear its current and contracted stocks, while the Arcadia Group, which includes brands such as Topshop, Dorothy Perkins and Burton, also said stores would continue to trade.

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