Less than 10% of shoppers feel unsafe in stores since lock down ended

Staff at an Ernest Jones store ready to welcome customers.

More than half of shoppers who have returned to high streets in England say they feel retailers have been doing enough to protect the public from Covid-19, with only 9% disagreeing.

Those who intended to visit shops for necessary items also rose from 44% to 53%. Those who said they would avoid visiting shops if possible fell from 38% to 28%, according to the British Retail Consortium and Opinium, which have been working together to track consumer behaviour and their sentiment towards coronavirus.

The latest survey took place between 19 and 22 June.


Respondents feeling comfortable about making purchases in-store rose to 64% for groceries (18% uncomfortable) while non-groceries fell slightly to 39% (15% uncomfortable).

This compared to 63% (20% uncomfortable) for groceries and 41% (17% uncomfortable) for non-groceries the previous week.

Visits to larger supermarkets remained at 66% of respondents, while local convenience stores rose to 50%, while Pharmacies and DIY stores fell slightly to 33% and 23% respectively. This may reflect the greater number of non-food stores now open.

The most popular safety measures in stores remained compulsory hand sanitising (38%), one-way systems (36%) and regular cleaning (35%).

On the wearing of masks, 60% of respondents either currently wear a mask, or intend to. This compares to 70% last week. The proportion who said they are not wearing masks rose from 29% to 40%. This may suggest that consumers are comfortable with the safety measures they have observed in the first week of reopening.

Helen Dickinson OBE, chief executive of the BRC, said: “Thousands of retailers opened their doors for the first time in months, and shoppers enjoyed visiting many stores they had been missing. Retailers will be reassured by polling showing that almost six times as many people agreed that retailers were doing enough to protect the public as disagreed. Nonetheless, retailers must continue to work hard to ensure everyone has the confidence to visit their local high street.”

Adding: “Shops and jobs depend on the ongoing support by the public. While the initial burst of enthusiasm is welcomed, the coming weeks and months will determine the future of our high streets for years to come.”


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