Retailers on Oxford Street finished off their window displays today as they prepare to reopen next Monday in a bid to lure shoppers back into stores after more than three months shut due to the third national lockdown.
Workers at Selfridges, Office, Lacoste, Accessorize and Swatch were all seen putting the finishing touches to their frontages in London’s West End shopping district, with many retailers set to reopen with huge sales.
Among the busiest stores is expected to be Primark which has no online shop and is therefore sitting on large amounts of winter stock that it has so far been unable to sell – along with its spring and summer collection.
The discount fashion retailer will offer extended opening hours in most stores until as late as 10pm to help reduce queues and enable social distancing – with huge demand expected at its two shops on London’s Oxford Street.
Primark told MailOnline today that it will not be holding any special sales or offers, and has put some of its autumn and winter stock in a warehouse where it will be kept until later this year when it can go back on the shelves.
H&M said much of its winter stock has been sold online, while other chains will have in-store promotions, such as Furniture Village which is doing 50 per cent off and gadget retailer Menkind which is running a competition.
Meanwhile Currys PC World said it would be holding an ‘XXL Clearance’ sale which is one of the electrical store’s biggest ever promotions, with up to 70 per cent taken off items by brands such as Beko, Windows and LG.
M&S said it is preparing for high demand for children’s clothing which is a ‘priority purchase’ for customers and has more space overall dedicated to youngsters in its stores than ever before, with a three-for-two deal in place.
The chain is also running a limited two-week promotion for its 10million Sparks cardholders where one customer every day in every store will get their entire shop for free, as well as 10 per cent off for new Sparks customers.
Retailers in Britain are thought to have lost £30billion of sales during a torrid year for the industry, which has also seen 190,000 jobs lost – but High Streets are expected to have a 59 per cent weekly rise in footfall next week.
Selfridges employees put the final touches to the window display at the department store on Oxford Street in London today
A worker finishes off the window display at the Selfridges department store on Oxford Street before it reopens next Monday
A Selfridges employee puts the final touches to the display at Selfridges in London today before next week’s reopening
The Selfridges window display is being finished off today at the department store on Oxford Street in London’s West End
A window cleaner works on the outside of the Selfridges store in London’s West End today ahead of next week’s reopening
A construction worker walks past the Selfridges store on Oxford Street today where the window displays are being finished
A passer-by looks at a work by Jonathan Schofield in the new window display at Selfridges on Oxford Street in London today
Six examples of some of the deals available from retailers online today as they prepare to reopen their stores next Monday
M&S has been selling its winter stock online for home delivery as well as click and collect to its food stores, as well as taking steps to manage supplies such as buying less winter partywear than it would usually.
Staff at other fashion chains are swapping out the winter wear in their clothing displays to make way for summer outfits, while high streets are also expected to be boosted by the reopening of outdoor hospitality.
A Primark spokesman told MailOnline: ‘We’re opening our doors with a great range of fresh new spring/summer styles to help our customers step into the new season in style, alongside our great value everyday must-haves.
‘All our ranges are available to shop at the normal amazing prices that our customers know and love. We have carefully reviewed our stock and we will follow our normal approach, which will mean no special sales or offers. In the meantime, we have taken steps to warehouse some of our autumn/winter stock for later this year.’
H&M said that ‘a lot of products that were intended to sell in stores, that currently are temporarily closed, are being sold online’, adding that it kept ‘inventory levels under control with limited increase compared to last year’.
A Selfridges employee puts the final touches to the window display at the store on Oxford Steet in London today
One of the new window displays at the Selfridges store on Oxford Street today ahead of it reopening to shoppers next week
Another work by Jonathan Schofield in the new window display at Selfridges on Oxford Street is pictured today
All non-essential retail will be able to reopen from April 12, including the Selfridges store on Oxford Street, pictured today
London buses travel through Oxford Street in London’s West End today, where non-essential shops will reopen next week
A sign on Oxford Street is pictured today as the West End shopping district prepares to reopen next Monday
The retailer will also open its stores across England next Monday, with current sales including men’s Chelsea boots down from £39.99 to £15, and women’s straight high ankle jeans down 50 per cent from £29.99 to £15.
Other items on sale in the women’s section include a cropped jumpsuit reduced from £34.99 to £20, a rib-knit cardigan down from £17.99 to £10 and a cotton flannel shirt reduced from £14.99 to £9.99.
Parents will be able to snap up a range of deals at The Entertainer, with the toy shop holding promotions both in-store and online on various big name brands such as L.O.L and Little Tikes and also a range of outdoor toys.
These include a Dolu My First Slide, reduced from £39.99 to £28.99; 50 per cent off a Little TIkes Sport Racer Ride On from £129.99 to £64.99; and an Evo 3 Wheeled Mini Cruiser Scooter in pink down from £39.99 to £24.99.
Home furnishings retailer Dunelm also has a range of online offers which will be moving into stores from next Monday until April 28, including 20 per cent off teddy bedding, mirage mugs and Dorma adult bedding.
A worker at Lacoste on Regent Street unpacks clothes as she puts them on the shelves yesterday ahead of the reopening
A worker at Swatch on Oxford Street hangs a watch on a holder yesterday as the store prepares to welcome shoppers back
A worker at Office laces up a shoe on Oxford Street in London yesterday as shops prepare for the big reopening on Monday
Workers at Accessorize on Oxford Street prepare the window display yesterday as the shop gets ready to reopen
Workers prepare the display at a shop on Regent Street yesterday as London’s West End shopping district prepares to reopen
Lakeland expects demand to ‘vary dependent on location’, but anticipates product categories that are seeing the most demand online will continue into retail, including kitchenware and tableware.
Safety measures at its stores will include hand sanitiser stations for staff and customers, distance markers on the floor, encouraging contactless payments and providing all employees with face coverings.
Furniture Village said it would be running a reopening offer, with up to 50 per cent off across bedroom, living and dining, and an extra £50 off every £500 spent which includes purchases on sale items.
Gadget retailer Menkind will be running a ‘Welcome back!’ sale across its range as well as a competition for the public to win a £500 bundle of prizes.
People in England will also now be able to visit John Lewis stores and use the fitting rooms. Executive director Pippa Wicks said: ‘We’re excited to be opening up much-needed services and helping customers choose those items that are harder to buy online – from the perfect mattress, to road testing the right pram or finding the right pair of jeans.’
A woman puts up part of a window display at a store on Regent Street yesterday ahead of shops reopening next Monday
Shop workers at Lacoste on Regent Street in London’s West End unpack clothes yesterday ahead of the shop reopening
A group of people look at a shop window on Oxford Street yesterday ahead of West End stores reopening next week
People walk along Oxford Street yesterday as non-essential shops across England prepare to reopen next Monday
People walk along Oxford Street yesterday as retailers prepare to welcome them back into stores from next week
People in need of some affordable furniture will be able to visit Ikea from Monday, but those planning to visit only for its Swedish meatballs will have to wait until May 17 when its indoor restaurants can reopen.
Britain’s largest electrical retailer Currys PC World will reopen 249 stores next Monday, with an ‘XXL Clearance’ sale both online and in store with savings of up to 70 per cent.
Chief Operating Officer Mark Allsop said, ‘We are thrilled to be reopening the doors of our stores and welcoming people back carefully and safely to protect everyone, from customers to colleagues. Since the unveiling of the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown, our teams have been working tirelessly to ensure we have all the necessary safety and hygiene protocols in place ahead of reopening.
‘Alongside this we wanted to celebrate our doors being open once again by offering everyone the chance to get their hands on some amazing technology either online or in-store at amazing prices with our XXL Clearance. We are excited to offer up to 70 per cent off some products, with extra savings to be made online.’
The former Debenhams flagship store on Oxford Street is boarded up by workers in a sad sight in the West End today
Construction workers board up the former Debenhams flagship store on Oxford Street in London’s West End today
Mannequins in an empty store on Oxford Street in London’s West End yesterday as non-essential shops prepare to reopen
Employees work on new window displays on Oxford Street in London yesterday as shops get ready to reopen next Monday
Deals will include 68 per cent off Jabra Elite 45 Bluetooth headphones, down from £119 to £49.99; a Lenovo Yoga Slim 7 14′ Laptop down 13 per cent from £749 to £649 and an LG 55′ Smart 4K Ultra HD HDR OLED TV down 14 per cent from £1,399 to £1,199.
Hobbycraft stores in England and Wales will reopen with a ‘custom crafting live’ deal event, including a Cricut Maker ultimate smart cutting machine down from £380 to £299 as well as 15 per cent off selected accessories.
The craft retailer has also put in place discounts across craft essentials such as card packs and glass, wood and cotton blanks – while customers at its shops can also get a Cricut Joy machine for £149 instead of £179.
In the hospitality sector, pubs and restaurants will be allowed to reopen for outdoor service only, from next Monday. There will be no 10pm curfew and no requirement for a substantial meal to be served alongside alcohol.
Venues without gardens have been busy trying to create outdoor seating space so that they can claw back revenue lost during the lockdown.
Employees work on new window displays on Oxford Street in London yesterday ahead of the big reopening next Monday
Mannequins in an empty store on Oxford Street in London yesterday as the West End prepares for the return of shoppers
A stall holder prepares his stand yesterday ahead of the shops around it to reopen next week on Oxford Street in London
Members of the public walk past the closed Debenhams department store on Oxford Street in London yesterday
A dying plant in a bank on Oxford Street in London is pictured yesterday ahead of the reopening of shops next Monday
Meanwhile, parents hoping for a fun day out with their children can plan a visit to Legoland Windsor. Model makers at the park have been busy adding the finishing touches to their designs which include a Lego giraffe.
Its outdoor rides will reopen next week in time for the remainder of the Easter holidays. The resort has asked guests aged over 11 to wear a mask and it will be limiting the number of guests in the park each day.
Retail experts at Springboard expect footfall across all UK retail destinations to rise by 48 per cent week-on-week when non-essential retail and outdoor hospitality reopens next Monday.
High streets are set to see the largest rise in footfall of 59 per cent, while it is anticipated that shopping centres and retail parks will see rises of 46 and 26 per cent respectively.
A John Lewis staff member gets fitting rooms ready at the store at Westfield White City in West London ahead of it reopening
A John Lewis staff member cleans shoes at their store in White City ahead of non-essential shops reopening next Monday
A John Lewis staff member prepares a display at the store in White City as they prepare to welcome customers back
A staff member cleans light fittings at the John Lewis store in White City ahead of it reopening at the start of next week
John Lewis staff members work on the display behind the shop windows at their White City store ahead of its reopening
At the end of first and second lockdowns last year, footfall rose in the first week by more than 40 per cent, but greater rises are expected this time due to the success of the UK’s vaccination programme.
The reopening in mid-April will also see footfall rise by 129 per cent in comparison to the same week in 2020, and it is expected to be significantly boosted further later this year by the eventual return of office workers.
Diane Wehrle, insights director at Springboard, said: ‘As we approach the 12-month mark since the start of the pandemic in the UK, lockdown fatigue is at its height and the increases in footfall over the last five weeks have indicated the pent up demand for a return to normality.
‘We know from when non-essential retail reopened at the end of lockdowns one in June and two in December that footfall will rise sharply and we anticipate this will be more prominent than ever before with a rise of up to 47.9 per cent.
The deserted High Street in Shrewsbury is pictured on January 7 during England’s third national lockdown
People walking along a near empty High Street in Winchester, Hampshire, on April 21 last year during the first lockdown
The deserted High Street in Guildford, Surrey, the morning after Boris Johnson announced the third lockdown, on January 5
Many shops remain closed on the High Street in Leicester during England’s third national lockdown on January 15
‘By mid-April, consumers will be looking for sensory and social retail experiences, reconnecting with their favourite brands and purchasing new wardrobes for a summer of social events. We are anticipating a strong initial uplift in April that will continue to rise over the summer months as the economy reopens in the UK.’
Jace Tyrrell, chief executive of the New West End Company, which represents 600 businesses on Oxford Street, Bond Street, Regent Street and in Mayfair, said its members were ‘expecting a strong reopening next week’.
He added: ‘It has been a difficult year for retail and hospitality, but the multiple lockdowns of 2020 have shown us that we can reopen safely and sustainably. The ongoing success of the vaccination programme has given us the boost we desperately need to save jobs and viable businesses.
‘Anyone coming to the West End should rest assured that extensive safety measures are in place and retailers are well practiced and prepared to ensure visitors can enjoy the area safely, with plenty of space. The recovery will be gradual, but with significant inward investment we feel confident our district has a bright and repurposed future.’