Families will make sure they can have a happy Christmas so there will be a Christmas rush, but December will mirror the drop in footfall experienced since July.
At Timpson, we expect December high street sales to fall by between 15pc and 20pc compared to last year. Christmas 2020 will accelerate the change in our shopping habits, put more retailers out of business, increase the number of empty shops and batter the balance sheets of retail landlords.
That said, a catastrophic Covid Christmas could be exactly what we need – a trigger to save our town centres.
Nine months of self isolating and social distancing have heightened our basic need for human contact. As I’ve written before, real people don’t thrive in a virtual world, because they need a social life. From early childhood, we benefit from positive attachments with parents, friends, neighbours and other people with common interests. We need cricket clubs and local pubs, football crowds and live concerts, coffee mornings and some banter on a bowling green.
The decline of high street shopping will undermine our local communities. Every town needs a hub, with a comprehensive range of essential services and places to relax and meet friends.