Indies benefit as UK pubs and restaurants reopen
Official data shows visitors to English high streets after 5pm have rose by a third week on week
Independent retailers with stores near pubs and restaurants saw a sales increase as the hospitality industry resumed trading to the public.
Last weekend, pubs and restaurants across England opened their doors for the first time since being forced to temporarily close as part of coronavirus lockdown measures at the end of March.
Dubbed ‘Super Saturday’, retailers trading near to these businesses benefited from increased footfall.
Shandip Patel, who runs three convenience stores in London, saw some big increases in footfall.
He told betterRetailing: “My sales increased by 20% over the weekend and my busiest times were between 4pm and 9pm. Wine was one of the most popular products sold.
“Pubs and restaurants might have reopened, but a lot of people are still nervous about having to be so close to others in a crowded area.
“They still think it’s safer to drink at home or in the park where there’s more space. It’s a lot cheaper to purchase alcohol from a convenience store as well.”
Paul Gardner, of Budgens of Islington in north London, added: “We’ve got a few pubs and restaurants nearby, and they usually come to my store to stock up. There was a noticeable increase in footfall during the weekend.”
Official footfall data used by the Office for National Statistics supported that the move was boosting evening trade. Springboard data for 4 July showed visitors to English high streets after 5pm rose by a third week on week.
However, evening footfall remained 75% down compared with 6 July 2019.
Some retailers had no impact on their sales, but urged others not to ignore the continuing opportunity that lockdown has provided.
Amit Puntambekar, of Nisa Ash’s Shop in Fenstanton, Cambridgeshire, said: “We’re based in a village, so there are more pubs than restaurants, but there was no noticeable change to our trade.
“I think the store’s performance during lockdown will continue for a few more months.
“There’s still a concern from many members of the public about going to a crowded pub.”
Manchester retailer Mital Morar, who runs a bar and restaurant next to his convenience store, added: “We didn’t see much additional footfall when we reopened the restaurant, but the weather wasn’t as good as it has been. We’ll have to wait a couple of weeks for a true picture.
“We have had to bring some staff back from furlough, and it was important to hear their concerns and ensure they felt safe coming back to work by implementing appropriate social distancing measures.”
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