PROSPER MAGAZINE: DIGITAL EDITION
BLACK COUNTRY RETAILERS LEADING THE WAY - THE CORNBOW CONTINUES TO KEEP ITS SHOPPERS SAFE
The Cornbow in Halesowen was one of the first shopping centres to set an example of how to implement social distancing measures having remained open throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We never shut our doors, we know how our loyal shoppers rely on our shops for essentials,” Adrian Oliver, director of Tansor Rec, owner of the Cornbow told Prosper.
“Keeping our whole team and shoppers, safe and feeling comfortable, was, and continues to be, paramount.”
A one-way system around the centre ensures shoppers keep a safe distance from one another. Hand sanitisers are available near all the entrances to the centre.
Benches and children’s rides have been removed to deter any shoppers from lingering. Floor markings denote where visitors can queue – at a safe social distance – to get into a store if it’s reached its maximum limit.
Face coverings are now compulsory – as enforced by UK law from 24th July - as soon as people step across the Cornbow’s threshold. Shoppers risk an expensive trip if they forget as the offence carries a £100 penalty.
“Like most shopping centres, The Cornbow is an indoor complex so we need visitors to wear face coverings when they come in,” said Eve O’Connor, the Cornbow’s centre manager. “The World Health Organisation’s advice has changed recently and it’s becoming clear that when we wear a mask, we protect both ourselves and those around us.
“We understand visiting shopping centres can still feel daunting for some. We advise that, wherever possible, shoppers visit alone and during our quieter times which are generally before 10am and after 4pm.”
“Adjusting to social distancing has challenged everyone but we are confident that if everyone adopts the measures, we will not only continue to keep our visitors and team safe, but keep as many of our shops trading,” Eve said.
“Without our loyal shoppers visiting and complying with safety measures, the centre would not have been able to remain open.”
Meanwhile in data from BRC-ShopperTrak, retail footfall is improving.
UK Footfall decreased by 42.1% in July, a big improvement from June’s -62.6%. This remains below the 3-month average decline of 61.6%.
Footfall on High Streets declined by 47.5% year on year, which is an improvement on June’s -64.5%. The reopening of pubs and restaurants did not have a significant impact on retail footfall over the course of the month.
Retail Parks saw footfall decrease by 22.4% year on year, which is an improvement on June’s -33.8%. Wider open spaces, a higher proportion of supermarkets and larger stores quicker to reopen helped to shelter Retail Parks from a steeper decline.
Shopping Centre footfall declined by 48.1% year on year in July, improving on June’s -68.3%. They were the most negatively affected location, partly due to enclosed spaces making social distancing more of a challenge
Northern Ireland saw the shallowest shopping centre footfall decline of all regions, with -23.1%. Wales and Scotland saw higher rates of decline than the UK average, with -53.3% and -54.4% respectively
Covering the four weeks 5 July – 1 August 2020