The shopping surge anticipated in England today, as the second national lockdown ends and 24-hour opening is permitted, may come too late to save many retailers.

  • Already the future of Debenhams and Arcadia’s portfolio of brands – and more than 20,000 jobs – hangs in the balance, although shops across both are currently continuing to trade.
  • The fates of the two are intertwined, as Debenhams generates around £75m of sales from Arcadia concessions like Topshop. JD Sports ended its interest in buying Debenhams once Arcadia entered administration on Monday.
  • Observers point to the failure of both businesses, which the pandemic has exposed, to keep up with changing shopping habits and the shift to digital.

“The UK high street is increasingly a fragile house of cards that suffers from a concentration of ownership, insufficient investment to keep pace with online developments and a general lack of dynamism and engagement between brands and consumers,” Dr Gordon Fletcher of University of Salford Business School, told the Guardian.

Elsewhere, Primark is a successful retailer that has not pivoted to e-commerce and is betting on extended trading hours to meet high customer demand before Christmas.

Sourced from Guardian; additional content by WARC staff