Queen joins fight for shops with message of hope for businesses in lockdown

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The Queen has given shops a boost as they hope to bounce back from weeks of closure.

As reopened retailers prepared for a post-lockdown sales surge, she said: “I wish all businesses every success.”

The Royal Family today pitched in to help get Britain spending again as shops
prepared for a bumper month of post-lockdown sales.

After nearly three months of closure and uncertainty, retailers have reopened in an effort to ­kickstart the battered economy.

The Queen told of her pride in firms that supported the NHS and ­the most vulnerable during the crisis, as they battled to stay afloat.

And the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge today joined the family effort to encourage people to visit local businesses.

It comes as shoppers are predicted to spend £30billion this month and bring fresh hope to the high street. The Queen spoke amid a wave of support for the Mirror’s Shop for Britain campaign.

In a message as patron of the British Chambers of Commerce, she said: “As many organisations around the country are reopening, I send my best wishes and support to business communities across the UK, Commonwealth and across the world.

“At a time of great difficulty for many, it is heartwarming to see the civic response and generosity of so many businesses, small and large, to the challenges posed, whether supporting the health sector or vulnerable communities.

“It gives me great pride to see the contribution you and your members are making to help firms, champion trade and rebuild communities. I wish all ­businesses every success in their endeavours in the weeks and months ahead.”

Prince William today lent his support to family-run Smiths the Bakers in King’s Lynn, Norfolk – not far from his Anmer Hall home where he, Kate and their children George, six, Charlotte, five and ­two-year-old Louis, have been staying during lockdown.

The firm’s business mostly comes from wholesale, including to schools, which had closed. But it is now starting to see customers return.

William, 37, told Paul and Therese Brandon, who run the shop: “The important thing is that shops like yours can get the footfall back in again and the high street and town feel like it’s getting a little bit more back to normal.

I think everyone’s just been, you know, in a daze. They don’t quite know what to make of it all.”

Scanning their products, he added: “I can’t come in here and not buy anything, so have you got any pain au chocolat at all?

“My children will not talk to me if I turn up without enough.”

The prince bought four, costing a total of £4.15. Pulling out his contactless card, he declared: “I hope this works. Good, it’s still working, first time out in a while.”

Not far away, Kate visited Fakenham Garden Centre – choosing plants and seeds for the couple’s children.

The 38-year-old told owners Martin and Jennie Turner: “They love it. It’s such a great space for children and families to come to.

“I’ve been food shopping but I have to say I haven’t been out a huge amount, but it’s good and so important, now as things start to ease, people know they can go out and particularly to places like this.”

In another boost for Britain, banking trade body UK Finance backed our campaign.

Its managing director of commercial finance, Stephen Pegge, said: “High streets play a vital role in local communities and will be central to the UK’s economic recovery.

“We are proud to be supporting the Mirror’s Shop for Britain campaign.” UK Finance revealed banks provided 107,000 bounceback loans worth £3.6billion to retailers and wholesalers during lockdown.

Many shops in England are thought to have held off reopening until today, despite getting the green light on Monday. Research showed shoppers can look forward to big discounts.

Brightpearl, an operations platform for retailers, revealed almost three in 10 shop bosses questioned said the sales could dwarf those offered on Black Friday and Boxing Day.

Official figures out today revealed a ­better-than-expected recovery in retail sales last month. Takings jumped nearly 12% between April and May, the Office for National Statistics showed.

Intu, which owns Manchester’s ­Trafford Centre and Lakeside in Essex, said visitor numbers since Monday were up 241% on last week.

George Brown, of investment bank Investec, predicted retail sales could rise another 15% in June. That would be an extra £4billion, taking spending back above the £30billion.

He added: “Significantly, this would take retail sales pretty much back to the levels seen in February.” Experts believe the online sales surge will slow as more shops reopen.

But Centre for Retail Research director Professor Joshua Bamfield warned the high street recovery would be slow. He said of today’s trading: “I think it will be reasonable, but it won’t be stupendous.”

The Government has extended measures to prevent struggling high street stores being evicted during the summer until September.

The high street reopened this week and bargains abound.

John Lewis has knocked up to 70% off brands such as Ralph Lauren and Levi’s, and Currys/PC World launches its “biggest ever clearance” this weekend.

Here are some of the best deals.

John Lewis
Ralph Lauren Courtenay long sleeve zebra print cotton shirt
Was £119
Now £35.50
SAVE: £83.50

Marks & Spencer
Printed waisted jumpsuit
Was £45 Now £22
SAVE: £23

Zara
Braided leather high heel sandals
were £69.99 now £29.99
SAVE: £40

Accessorize
Jasmine floral beaded clutch bag was £39 now £27.30
SAVE: £11.70

Debenhams
Lola & Maverick girl’s floral print dress (ages 5-6)
was £30 now £18
SAVE: £12

TopMan
Men’s Lee sweatshirt with pocket
was £64.99 now £20
SAVE: £44.99

Sports Direct
Men’s Adidas VL Court 2 suede trainers
were £54.99 now £39
SAVE: £15.99

Matalan
Boy’s short sleeve tropical print shirt
was £7-£8 now £3.50
SAVE: £3.50-£4.50

Currys/PC World
Philips Ambilight 55 inch Smart 4K Ultra HD TV with Google Assistant
was £759.99 now £499
SAVE: £260.99

DFS
Mystify pillow back four seater sofa
was £1,119 now £699
SAVE: £420

Ikea
White Malm dressing table
was £85 now £75
SAVE: £10

Robert Dyas
Breville Impressions four slice toaster
was £44.99
now £27.99
SAVE: £17

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