Customers return as furniture shop reopens
PUBLISHED: 09:09 09 June 2020 | UPDATED: 09:09 09 June 2020
An independent trader who has reopened her shop has seen customers venturing back into town.
Amanda Arterton has reopened Artertons’ furniture store on King’s Lynn High Street after the business was closed for two months during lockdown.
Shoppers must socially distance, while Mrs Arterton serves them wearing a mask and visor.
“We’ve had customers ever since we opened on May 23,” she said. “It’s not like it should be this time of year, but I can’t complain. I’ve had two days of no sales, the rest has been OK.”
Mrs Arterton, who has run the business with her husband Colin for 29 years, decided to reopen after realising a national furniture chain had resumed trading.
“Someone sent me a picture of one of the out-of-town bed shops and they were open,” she said. “Luckily, we’d already got masks and visors. I came in on the Friday afternoon, put tape on the floor for the 2m distancing and we were open the next day.”
Mr and Mrs Arterton have resumed deliveries of beds and other furniture. Mrs Arterton said the shop had “a good order book”. One member of staff remains on furlough.
Elsewhere on the pedestrianised High Street almost every business is closed, while Lynn’s usually-full car parks are empty. But so-called non-essential shops can reopen from Monday.
Discover King’s Lynn, the town’s business improvement district, has been advising retailers on how to carry out a coronavirus risk assessment and the other steps needed to reopen such as maintaining social distancing.
It has also produced signage, to help ensure that customers and staff remain 2m apart. Barriers may be erected in parts of the High Street to manage queues from Monday, as smaller shops limit the number of customers allowed inside.
It comes as industry leaders warned sales were unlikely to return to pre-coronavirus levels overnight.
Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said weak consumer confidence and social distancing rules are likely to hold back sales.
Paul Martin, UK head of retail at KPMG, said: “Stores may soon have the green light to re-open but it will be a gradual affair with safety front of mind, and some doors may not reopen at all.”
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