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Shops have a lot of work to do to reopen

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RETAIL businesses are gearing up to reopen on Saturday, when lockdown restrictions are due to be eased in phase four.

Peter Creasey, group managing director of Creasey’s, said it would reduce its opening hours at first to gauge demand. (Picture by Adrian Miller, 28301007)

While some shops have been to open to sell essential items, many have been closed since March.

Creasey’s has been able to open its M&S food franchises, as well as its children’s wear section recently.

However the clothes section of M&S, most of the three Creasey’s sites and Joules have all been closed.

Group managing director Peter Creasey said they planned to reopen on Saturday, but there was a lot of work to do between now and then.

‘Most of the shops will be open, but some areas might be closed,’ he said.

‘We are now trying to de-clutter the shop, making sure people will be able to distance comfortably. We are putting all the hand sanitisers back in place.’

There are also other challenges, like cleaning the businesses after two months closed, as well as reorganising goods.

‘When we closed in March we still had winter stock and the end of the sale,’ he said. ‘So we will put out fresh merchandise.’

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The businesses’ HR team have been busy contacting employees to line them up to work. As there will be a limit on the number of people allowed in shops, there will be fewer shop workers, as this will allow more shoppers to come in.

Mr Creasey said it was hard to predict how busy it would be, which is why the business was limiting opening hours initially to see what the demand was like.

‘I imagine for most people after two months trapped at home, they will want to get out,’ he said.

He said he hoped people would support local businesses at this time, as they were very important for the local economy.

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Melodonia joint owner Andre Goubert said the business has been selling items over the phone and following the one-man delivery model. But he was keen to get back in the shop.

‘We are intending to get staff in and get started during the coming week, and return to work on Saturday,’ he said.

He said he had seen a big difference in the sort of goods people were buying. The electronics shop prides itself on having a big showroom, so people can see the quality of their goods. But with people limited to buying goods off specifications, Mr Goubert said often people were choosing to buy the cheapest item, as they could not see the benefits of buying a more expensive model, which they normally could when visiting the shop.

He said they would be opening for full hours on Saturday and would then assess the demand.

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