The government ordered the closure of all shops selling non-essential goods to tackle the Covid-19 outbreak, as it placed the UK into a lockdown to prevent the spread of the virus.

Carnaby St closed Covid

Source: Shutterstock / zjtmath

Addressing the nation, PM Boris Johnson warned the public that they “must stay at home”.

Non-essential stores were initially closed until April 2020 but did not fully resume normal trading until June 2021, as the UK weathered a number of ‘stop and start’ lockdowns to combat the virus.

In 2021, the BRC estimated that the closure of non-essential retail had cost the sector a whopping £22bn in lost sales.