Nursery retailers have reacted positively to the news that – according to the roadmap released by PM Boris Johnson – non-essential retail may reopen on 12 April, as long as certain key conditions are met.
The roadmap itself outlines the dates which will see the UK coming out of its third – and hopefully final – national lockdown. The key date for the nursery retail sector is 12 April, when non-essential retail will be able to open – although all dates are subject to review. Full details can be seen here.
With a clear plan in place, retailers like Nicola Amies, owner of Sea Whistle in Sussex, will be able to start planning for a grand reopening in just under seven weeks’ time.
“It’s been tough keeping positive, motivated and focused, so the news yesterday was the supercharged tonic I needed to re-energise and get a plan in place for opening on the 12th April,” said Nicola. “The reopening is coming later than I would have liked as I’d hoped for an Easter opening but the 12th April it is so it’s full steam ahead planning for a grand re-opening of the shop.”
She continued: “The end date of 21st June for lifting all restrictions will make a massive difference for summer staycation shopping – last August was phenomenal for me due to coastal staycations and people needing summer clothes, unique gifts and a spot of early Christmas shopping by the sea! Having a date to work towards has solidified my product purchasing plans – less Easter focus and more summer holiday focus, so my spend will be more strategic.”
“My hope is that the news has boosted people’s spirits so, combined with the warm spring days, I expect to see an uptick in spending – which is perfect timing as new S/S stock arrives (sometimes a delay is fortuitous!). I’m optimistic that having built my social media presence and the online presence I’ll experience a greater footfall in store this summer, especially weekenders wanting to escape to the coast. Focus now will be on maximising staycation sales and the ‘afterburn’ of online sales once people have purchased in store.”
Caroline Pizzey, owner of Little Poppets & Co in Sevenoaks had been aiming for early April, so is pleased that Boris’ announcement was on par to what she had predicted. “I am pleased we have a ‘roadmap’ now so we have things to look forward to and the targets as a country we need to reach. Everyone wants normality and this is the closest we are going to get.”
“I think as a country we do really need to open the shops to save jobs and the high street, however we do not want to keep getting in the vicious cycle of open/close/open/close,” she continued. “We have decided to open the store on the 12th with a bang. We have had a huge refurbishment and still have a few bits that are due to finish mid-March so we will be opening with a huge baby event to fill the diary up!”
Over in the Wirral, Ian Davidson – owner of Babylicious – is feeling similarly optimistic.
“We cannot wait to reopen and help customers get the right products for their needs. Whoever thinks nursery stores are not essential retail when we need to help match the right products to each individual customer obviously does not have kids!”
He continued: “Let’s hope this roadmap works so we can all get back to some sort of normality. Our booking list is already open and in the past 24 hours I have had many customer already reaching out to book in. I have a month now to tidy the store and get rid of a minefield of boxes, all ready to welcome our lovely customers back!”