April 9, 2021
Boris Johnson has confirmed that the country has met the conditions to allow retail to reopen next week as detailed in the roadmap, due to the drastic fall in both covid cases and hospital admissions. Confederation of British Industry policy director John Foster said in a statement: “Knowing the Covid roadmap is on track can help create the economic momentum the country needs as the second phase of reopening begins…The retail and outdoor hospitality sectors can now gear up with certainty and confidence for a safe start.”
Value fashion retailer Peacocks has been bought out of administration by a consortium of investors. The deal will see 200 stores and 2,000 jobs saved. The brand has said that no further job losses are planned and they hope that all staff currently on furlough will be returning to work once stores reopen next week.
Value fashion retailer Primark has confirmed that it will reopen stores in England and Wales from 12th April and will be extending opening hours in a bid to manage pent-up demand and keep customers safe. CEO Paul Marchant said in a statement: “Safety remains at the front of our minds. We have extended opening hours across almost all of our stores to help meet demand safely but we’re also asking our customers to keep up the support and spirit they showed last year, particularly if queuing outside or in-store.”
Nearly 190,000 UK retail jobs have been lost since the first lockdown, according to data released by the Centre for Retail Research. 84k of the job losses were attributed to failure of big names such as Debenhams and Arcadia and another 12k came about through retailers completing a CVA. There are also currently 600,000 retail staff on furlough, up from 200,000 in December.
Footwear retailer Kurt Geiger plans to open 9 new stores across the UK when non-essential retail reopens next week. The new stores will open in Stratford, Brixton, Cheshire Oaks, Swindon, Bridgend, Selby, Cannock and two in Leeds. Chief Executive Neil Clifford said in a statement: “At Kurt Geiger, we continue to believe in the high street, and continuing to protect our employees’ jobs as much as possible is a priority for us.”
Hospitality brand Loungers has announced that it will open 4 new venues by the end of May and then 25 a year as it gets back on track with expansion plans. The new sites will open in Wolverhampton, Stourbridge, Welwyn Garden City and St Ives. Chief Executive Nick Collins said in a statement: “We expect to trade well once the estate is full re-opened, particularly with our strong coastal presence as we look forward to a summer of staycationing. Planned new openings in Blackpool, Scarborough and Aberystwyth ahead of the summer holidays will reinforce this position.”
Pizza business Papa John’s has signed a franchise deal with Staffordshire-based pub the Saracen’s Head, marking a new businesses model for the company that will see Papa John’s pizza made and delivered from pub kitchens across the business. The brand is now looking for similar opportunities. Director of business development Justin Gilbert said in a statement: “With pubs reopening, Para John’s at the Saracen’s Head is a great example of how we can help drive profitable growth for selected establishments right at the heart of the community.”
7 in 10 of businesses operating in the night-time economy believe that covid passports will have a negative impact on trade. The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) surveyed 700 nightclubs, bars, pubs and other venues to ask about what impact the proposed plans for covid status certification would have on their business. 69% believed that it would not be necessary to operate and many have raised concerns about enforcement creating a ‘nightmare’ for staff.
A former Fenwick department store in Leicester will undergo a £17m development project to transform it into an aparthotel featuring 133 bedrooms. The hotel will be named the Gresham and will contain a bar, restaurant, gym, space for commercial use and 12,000sq ft for flexible office and meeting space.
Liverpool ONE has doubled its outdoor seating availability in a bid to support operators to trade before indoor hospitality is allowed. Owner Grosvenor’s MD Alison Clegg said in a statement: we are very conscious our tenants need continued support. The additional covers and reintroduction of the social distanced circles on Chavasse Park achieve these two objectives, creating more opportunities for tenants to welcome visitors as they return to Liverpool ONE.”
Openings and closures
Restaurant group Bar 44 has confirmed plans to open nine boutique hotel rooms above its Asador 44 restaurant in Cardiff, as well as a guest lounge and roof terrace; Chilango is to open its first digital-only venue next month, in Croydon.