Northampton retailers enjoy surge in trade as national businesses experience best quarter to date despite Covid
'While welcoming the opportunity to ‘open up’, traders are also being responsible'
Northampton retailers are enjoying a surge in trade seen across the country as the sector experienced its best quarter to date despite coronavirus.
The easing of lockdown rules, sunny weather and Euro 2020 combined to give businesses a springtime boost ahead of pre-pandemic levels, according to the British Retail Consortium.
But firms are warning there are still tough times to come with a lot of ground to make up from the past 18 months and an expected global recession on the horizon.
Weston Favell Shopping Centre manager Kevin Legg said: “Weston Favell are delighted to see customers slowly return to the centre and sales on the whole increase as customers confidence returns.
"We ensured as best as possible to provide a safe and clean shopping centre since the start of restrictions which enabled our essential retailers to continue to provide for our customer’s needs.
"Now that all shops are open we feel keeping it local will help our high street and small independent retailers the boost they need, we feel we are in the right place given our mix of value retail, free parking and convenience will continue to encourage those local shoppers who have perhaps not been spending in the past few months to return and shop local."
From May 30 to July 3, UK retail sales increased by 17 per cent from the same period in 2019, while sales grew by 10.4 per cent from April to June compared to two years ago.
British Retail Consortium chief executive Helen Dickinson said non-food sales were bolstered by growing consumer confidence and the continued unleashing of consumer demand after the lockdown.
Fashion and footwear did well while the sun was out in the first half of June, while the start of Euro 2020 provided a boost for TVs, snack food and beer, she added.
However she predicted many 'strong headwinds' to come and Freedom Day will have a big impact on retailers, with some customers looking forward to next-to-no restrictions and others feeling anxious.
Mark Mullen, operations manager of Northampton Town Centre Business Improvement District, said: “After a challenging period for the economy, anecdotally we are hearing that some Northampton town centre businesses are enjoying a surge in trade following the opening up of lockdown restrictions, although it still remains a challenge for others.
"While welcoming the opportunity to ‘open up’, traders are also being responsible.”