Traders optimistic as lockdown looms over high street
- Credit: Sonya Duncan
Amanda Arterton was philosophical as the closed signs went up in the windows of her furniture store in King’s Lynn High Street.
You’ll still be able to buy a new bed or wardrobe from tomorrow. You just won’t be able to go into Arterton’s to choose it.
Mrs Arterton’s been doing a roaring trade in beds, wardrobes and armchairs since lockdown lifted. She’s confident lockdown two won’t burst her bubble as ordering migrates to the phone and social media.
“We’ve been really, really busy from day one,” she said. “Every furniture and bed shop has, not just us.”
Demand has even seen furniture prices increase, because of a shortage of the foam used to manufacture many items.
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“Everyone’s been buying furniture,” added Mrs Arterton. “What else are people doing with their money? No-one’s going on holiday, no-one’s putting petrol in their car.”
Stores were doing brisk business in Lynn, with toy shops and gift outlets seeing steady demand.
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Street ranger Michael Smith thought many shoppers were thinking ahead to the festive season.
“I think we’re seeing a lot of Christmas sales,” he said. “It’s because of the uncertain times, perhaps people think they won’t have time to get their Christmas shopping.
“The general feedback from retailers is they don’t know what’s going to happen.
“We’ll still be here to give support, we’ll be here throughout lockdown to make sure businesses are safe.”
Model railways have built up a new head of steam in recent months according to John Harrison, who supplies hobbyists as well as DIY fans and gardeners from his Tardis-like DIY Centre on Norfolk Street.
“It’s always been popular but people are buying things to amuse themselves at home with,” he said. “They’re spending money they would have spent on holidays and other things.”
Mr Harrison sells tools, which means he can stay open. While so-called non-essential retailers will be closed from tomorrow until December 2, much of Lynn will be joining him.
Signs in the windows of many cafes and diners advised they would be open for takeaways.
One outside a chemist’s said: “We are an essential retailer. We are staying open to help our community.”