Leeds stores under pressure after second national lockdown hits

The front of shopping centre Victoria Quarter with a large reindeer Christmas light decorationThe front of shopping centre Victoria Quarter

As we enter the second national lockdown, Leeds retailers say shutting doors in November will be “a huge loss”.

England went into another national lockdown from Thursday 5th November for 4 weeks, following the Prime Minister’s announcement. It’s after Covid-19 infections soared by 213,832 in the last two weeks.

Store manager of All Saints in Victoria Quarter, Leeds, Kate Hinchcliffe, said: “It most definitely will impact the brand, the U.K. is the biggest region All Saints has, so shutting the doors during November is a huge loss to the company”.

After the prolonged lockdown period which started in March, major retail chains like Laura Ashley, Oasis and Debenhams filed for administration.

Many retail workers are concerned, particularly those working in independent stores, that they may not have a job to come back to.

Savannah Twambley, employee at an independent children’s clothing boutique in Leeds, said; “As an independent company, we don’t have a lot of online exposure, so people coming into store is our best chance at revenue and we obviously won’t have that now. I know my team will do everything they can to keep us all in jobs but I know there won’t be enough hours for us all so I am worried.”

Kate Hinchcliffe said it’s hard for her employees too: “There is a sense of sadness because no one wanted to close the doors, we all wanted to trade through the busiest time of the year”.

A graph detailing the footfall projections on Albion Street in Leeds

There are thousands fewer shoppers on the streets of Leeds. In October last year there were 2105 shoppers (footfall) on average per day compared to a mere 452 in the current climate, as shown above.

BRC insights director Kyle Monk said the forced closure of thousands of shops in England would cost non-essential retailers over £2 billion per week as the sector enters the all-important Christmas period. 

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