Great Britain

Millions of shoppers hit the high street on first weekend after lockdown lifted in £1.5billion life-line for stores

MILLIONS of Brits hit the shops today after high street stores re-opened following the lifting of the nationwide lockdown.

Shoppers and drinkers are tipped to splash out £1.5 BILLION to help boost the UK’s broke economy on what has been dubbed "Stupor Saturday”.

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Malls were rammed with punters keen to catch up with their shopping and grab some huge bargains in the run up to Christmas.

The much-needed boost - which is being seen as a life-line to the economy - comes on the first non-working day since lockdown ended.

More than 300,000 people are tipped to hit London’s West End, 150,000 at Birmingham’s Bullring and 120,000 at Manchester’s Trafford Centre by close of business today.

In Manchester and the capital, people were seen waiting in queues outside stores, including Primark and the soon-to-be-closing Debenhams. 

Huge lines also formed outside London's posh Selfridges store on Oxford Street while Leeds city centre was also mobbed.

However, most shoppers stuck to strict social distancing rules and kept well apart from fellow bargain hunters.

They were among many keen to bag some huge Christmas deals with prices slashed by up to 80 per cent. 

Retail chiefs had already urged shoppers to act responsibly — with extended opening hours giving more time and opportunity to socially distance.

They also stressed that every pound spent helps protect jobs and support local communities.

Helen Dickinson, boss of the British Retail Consortium, added: “Retailers are offering discounts, extending opening hours and looking at other ways to create an enjoyable shopping experience.

“Everyone can shop in the knowledge that every purchase we make is a retailer helped, a job protected and a local community supported.”

Experts say the return to high streets will be helped by fatigue at purchasing over the net.

Market research firm Ipsos found shoppers buying online have become “stressed” and are no longer enjoying the experience.

Today also marks Small Business Saturday.

Last year’s event saw a record 18 million people spend £800m at local cafes, pet shops, toy stores and gift shops.

The call to “shop and eat small” is more vital than ever this year.

The country's pubs were also back bustling with business after taking a battering in recent months.

The Campaign for Real Ale’s Tom Stainer said: “The Great British pub needs the great British public in its hour of need.”

The Sun says....

LET us be under no illusion: Britain is in deep financial trouble.

The latest figures show the economy is nearly 10 per cent smaller than in the final three months of 2019.

Unemployment is expected to surge to 2.6million by mid-2021.And now experts are warning of a £9billion slump in retail sales in the run-up to Christmas compared with this time last year.

But it’s not too late to prove them wrong.

Which is why we’re urging ordinary Brits who can afford to do so to hit the high street today on Super Saturday.

Doing your Christmas shopping locally instead of on Amazon might not feel particularly patriotic.

But by visiting bricks and mortar shops, you’ll be giving a crucial shot in the arm to the brilliant businesses that have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to keep this country’s time-honoured skills, traditions and spirit of entrepreneurship alive.

Napoleon called Britain a nation of shopkeepers, meaning it as an insult.

But we wear it as a badge of pride — one we must ensure isn’t consigned to the history books.

And some canny drinkers are certainly doing their bit with secret hacks to carry on drinking while they have their "substantial meal".

They have reported they were able to keep ordering pints in their locals, as long as they left a few chips on a plate.

Some landlords even told boozers the trick, to stop them having to move on once they have finished their meal.

Anyone in Tier 2 must order a "substantial meal" to go with their alcoholic drink, under new Covid rules.

And the rules say that once the food is finished, you must leave the venue and cannot order another drink.

Many pubs have got around this by offering small dishes with free pints, or curating mini meals half the price for drinkers to order.

But others have simply decided that as long as there is an empty or near empty plate in front of them, that is enough to keep drinking.

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