Kantar predicts £3.9bn high street boom in first week of reopening

In the week after non-essential retail reopened last year, consumers spent £3.8 billion in high street stores. With longer opening hours and growing confidence among older shoppers in particular, Kantar is predicting an even bigger surge this time, forecasting consumers to spend £3.9bn in the first week of reopening.

Non-essential retail recovered quickly after re-opening in 2020 and rebounded to around 75% of 2019 sales within two to three weeks, researchers said. By August 2020, two months after the 15 June reopening, spending in bricks-and-mortar retail was back to pre-pandemic levels.

Sales of outdoor living (furniture, BBQs etc) and gardening have risen 24% and 51% during the past year and this growth shows no sign of slowing as gardens continue to play a pivotal role in social gatherings in the coming months, Kantar added.

Simon Quirk, business unit director at Kantar, comments: “Based on our data and experience after previous lockdowns, we know that shoppers are excited to get back to the high street and we’re expecting pent-up demand to fuel an immediate surge in sales.  Last year, footfall was driven by young people but older shoppers, now largely vaccinated, are much more eager to get back to shops this time around.   

“While the pandemic has brought economic uncertainty for many British households, others have actually saved money in the past 12 months and we are predicting that spending will surpass last year’s levels.  We expect Brits will spend £3.9 million on the high street in the first week of reopening.  Clothing, homeware and outdoor stores are likely to perform well, as shoppers want to buy outfits for warmer weather and get their gardens ready.  

“With large events and bigger social gatherings still off the table, late-night shopping is set to become a new way for people to treat themselves – embracing a more European-style evening out by combining shopping with dinner and drinks afterwards.  There will be significant opportunities for retailers that can tap into this experience.”