Retail giants 'open and ready for business' but many fear they will never trade again after pandemic

RETAIL giants say they are “open and ready for business” from tomorrow — but many are on edge about the pandemic’s impact.

A report predicts 20,000 shops could shut and 235,704 jobs be lost by Christmas unless Brits get spending.

Chains hope we open the purse strings, given the average household has saved £300 a month in lockdown.

Expert Clare Bailey said: “The next few weeks will be crucial with the High Street already on its knees.”

Intu is unlocking 20 of the UK’s biggest shopping centres.

Debenhams, back in administration with 22,000 jobs at risk, will open 90 of 142 stores.

M&S and Next could offer up to 70 per cent off. Frasers Group has promised 50 per cent discounts for NHS staff at Sports Direct.

Currys PC World will open 53 of its 131 stores tomorrow. Primark, HMV and JD Sports will open all shops.

Arcadia stores such as Burton, Dorothy Perkins, Evans, Miss Selfridge, Topshop and Wallis are back.

But half of small retailers don’t expect to reopen tomorrow. And a fifth fear they will never trade again.

Besides distancing measures, stores will encourage customers not to pick up items.

Trials will see returned clothes zapped with ultraviolet light in a bid to rid the virus.

Most changing rooms will remain shut.





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