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'Crucial' sales surge must last months to save Britain's high streets, says expert

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Andrew Goodacre, chief executive of the British Independent Retailers Association, is expecting an initial surge of shoppers similar to when the first lockdown ended last June. But he is hoping consumer confidence boosted by the vaccine rollout will keep footfall high for longer this time. And this will be key to survival for many independent retailers.

He said: “To get this far, businesses have used every ounce of their resilience and financial resources, so this is the most crucial time in the history of high streets.

“I think along with people wanting to spend on the high street they also want to support their local businesses and show loyalty.”

Jace Tyrrell, chief executive of New West End Company, is also confident shoppers will return to central London but is not expecting a stampede.

He said: “We expect to quickly recover 40 percent of our usual footfall but are not expecting crowds this week.

“Previous reopenings saw intention-to- purchase rise among those visiting, so we hope that spending will rise ahead of footfall.”

Outdoor attractions can also open their doors tomorrow. Alton Towers, in Staffordshire, is launching three 1980s-themed rides.

Mixtape, Roller Disco and Funk’n’Fly, which make up the Retro Squad, will give guests a blast from the past as they bounce, slide, and fly.

London Zoo will also reopen tomorrow and visitors can enter the world of Tiny Giants, a new exhibit celebrating the planet’s smallest and mightiest animals, from Monday, May 17.



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