Burnley shoppers hitting the high street more than before pandemic

Burnley shoppers welcomed the return of non-essential shops last week with a spending spree, figures suggest.
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As coronavirus restrictions eased many retailers were allowed to open their doors for the first time since early January.

The banking firm Revolut analysed the data of 4,000 of its customers in Burnley between April 12th and 18th, comparing it to the average weekly spend in February 2020, before lockdown started.

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Burnley shoppers spent 150% more on average last week than normal, according to their data – with Primark the most popular shop.

Shoppers return to Burnley town centre. Photo: Kelvin StuttardShoppers return to Burnley town centre. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard
Shoppers return to Burnley town centre. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard

The first day of trading saw even higher levels of spending, with 198% more splurged than the average Monday in February of last year.

Retail spending increased 92% across England as a whole, the firms figures show.

Revolut said the data shows there is strong demand right across the country, with many people eager to spend savings built up since non-essential shops closed on January 5th.

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Spokesman Nicholas Taylor said: "Importantly, spending was up across the whole week – rather than just the first day – suggesting that consumer confidence is resilient.

"This is great news for the thousands of local pubs, cafes and shops, and the millions of people they employ."

The British Retail Consortium said stores have worked hard to provide customers with a "safe and enjoyable" shopping experience, and it expects footfall to increase as more outlets reopen.

Chief executive Helen Dickinson added: “With case numbers continuing to drop, retailers hope that confidence will return to high streets, shopping centres and retail parks, and encourage UK consumers to release some of the £160 billion saved up during this pandemic.

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"By unlocking consumer savings, UK retail has a key role to play in the wider economic recovery.”

With bars lacking outdoor space not able to serve drinks yet, spending in Burnley pubs was 32% down on February last year.

However, the Revolut data suggests pub-goers spent more than usual when buying rounds.

The average transaction in pubs in the area was £14.29 last week – up 31% on the typical spend across an average week before the pandemic, of £10.92.

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Burnley drinkers spent slightly less than the average round across England last week, of £16.03.

Hospitality data specialists at CGA said operational constraints and the unpredictable British weather mean three in four venues in England are still closed.

Karl Chessell, CGA’s business unit director, added: "While some may open over the next few weeks, we will have to wait another four weeks until it is feasible for many hospitality venues to reopen again.

"Until then, operators deserve support from local authorities to make the most of outdoor trading space – not to mention some sunshine.”

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