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What will happen to retail after the lockdown?

At intu, we currently have three priorities during this challenging period; to keep people as safe as possible, to keep our business in good shape for all our stakeholders including our customers, investors and our 2,500 employees and to support the national effort to tackle the coronavirus pandemic and its effects.

We are also thinking about what happens next. These are unprecedented times and no one really knows what the long-term impact of the virus will be on the UK. One thing we’re all looking forward to though, is life returning to normal (or as near normal as possible) afterwards. Based on data collected by Kantar in March, many shoppers seem to share this view.

A study of consumers in China by Kantar during their lockdown period found the things people most looked forward to doing once the lockdown lifted. 65%, 58% and 55% of consumers said they were looking forward to going back to out-of-home dining, shopping and entertainment respectively.


Kantar has predicted that UK consumers will be even more eager than Chinese consumers to return to the shops once they are able to. This is because China has a more digitally focused economy than ours, with more shoppers using online retail. Research from eMarketer found that in 2019 35% of China’s retail sales were online, the highest share globally. By comparison, in the UK, data collected by the Office for National Statistics found that 18% of total retail sales were online, over half of these online sales were created by the halo effect that physical stores have for digital retailers, according to CACI.

Kantar see huge potential for a rebound once the pandemic has passed. In line with shoppers’ eagerness to get out and about again, Kantar’s data suggests that spending will increase across a range of categories. These include out-of-home food and beverage, out-of-home entertainment, as well as major retail categories like clothing – while it’s likely that spending will decrease for online entertainment.

Whilst we remain in the middle of the UK’s response to the virus, we can all look forward to the reopening, and rebound of retail when the time is right. If you want to know what intu is doing in response to COVID-19, please check out our website here: https://www.intugroup.co.uk/en/about-us/coronavirus/

We hope everyone stays healthy and well.