Least popular stores for post-lockdown retail therapy

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By Luciana Oliveira

Lockdown got to us all, and when we could all finally go shopping again, many of us rushed out to do so. It was great for the retail sector, but for some shops, there was a little less interest than for others.

Throughout lockdown, only essential shops were able to remain open. These would have been things like supermarkets, pharmacies and general merchandising stores, but other shops were only able to sell online.

People were eager to get back into the shops, so it’s no surprise that many people were searching online. The research done was into how many people searched for the opening times of various shops. As searching for individual shops could have meant people were trying to shop online, it’s impossible to count how many people entered the many shops in a retail chain. So seeing how many people were curious about the opening times provides the most information.


For all shops, reopening would have been a positive uptake in income. Yet, some shops gained a little less interest. And Opening Times have researched who these were.

Which shops were less popular for post-lockdown therapy?

The team at Opening Times found that there were certain shops that people searched for less. These shops were some of the midrange stores like Weird Fish and Reebok. As well as some luxury stores, like Michael Kors and Ralph Lauren. These are all big brands. Well-known clothing stores that people were likely still shopping in.

They may have all been brands that we love, but couldn’t afford after furlough or having lost our jobs. Even those of us who continued to work, who were after retail therapy, may have wanted to spend a little less. Especially if people were planning on visiting many shops in one day. And were looking at the opening times of each.

All these brands were clothing, shoes and accessories. Some of these sell outside clothes like Barbour and Timberland. That may have been another reason why people were searching for these stores a little less. People would have been looking more into outside stores online as an excuse to get outside during lockdown. So that and the fact it wasn’t easy for people to go on holiday. They may not have been eager to shop in outdoors stores. If these shops were popular during the lockdown. They might not have gotten thought of as post-lockdown therapy.

Why were brand shops less popular?

As noted, these shops all sell clothes and accessories. And considering that many of us wound up having to order new clothes during the pandemic. Clothes shops were still doing well as retail therapy, but these one’s less so.

People likely had less money then. If they’re going to be treating themselves after being stuck in lockdown. They’d want to be able to spread the costs across. People were still shopping in these stores, and they were still googling the opening times. Just less.

It may also be that most of these stores are the types of stores that people drop in. People may not have been searching the opening times as often, but they were still shopping there. This research focused on the volume of people searching for each shop’s opening times. So if they just walked into the store, we would have no evidence of how popular they are. Or how few people may have walked into the most searched for stores. There were some shops that people were searching for quite a lot.

What shops were more popular?

The more popular shops consisted of a variety. There were a few clothing stores, furniture shops and a department store. The furniture shops make sense, as many people did plenty of D.I.Y over the lockdown. People most likely wanted to change the furniture that they had in those reorganised rooms.

As well as the furniture shops, there were a few clothes shops that did well. Primark and TK Maxx, as well as Sports Direct. There were clothes shops on both the most popular and least popular search lists. However, there is a clear difference in the price range between the shops. TK Maxx may sometimes sell brand name clothing, but the brands get sold cheaper than in the brand name shops. Both Primark and TK Maxx also sell homeware. Things that buyers may have been looking for after redecorating during the lockdown.

Does the fact people searched for these shops less mean people weren’t shopping there?

None of these less searched for shops were unpopular. All of the shops on the list have remained open as a company. Where some individual shops may have shut down, that would have been down to local costs. These are still shops that you see on the high street and can order from online.

One of the more popular shops, Debenhams, was only reopening its doors for closing down sales. The department store is expensive but would have lowered prices. The final closure dates were originally announced in April, the month this research focused. Many people will have been eager to shop in the closing down sales. That could be an explanation as to why more people were searching for it.

The pandemic harmed many businesses, especially retail. Though many stores could move online. It would be difficult for them to earn enough money to pay the staff and the rent on their locations. That did lead to some shop closures. Just not many of the retail chains on this list.

But people were still clearly excited to get back into the shops again. All these shops had people searching for their opening times. Some just fewer than others. So though they may look less popular, the majority of them still did well.

From the research, it seems to be that people checked the opening times of stores that sold cheaper products with more variety. Luxury clothes do not appear to get considered post-lockdown therapy, but cheap clothes and furniture were.

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Luciana joined our team as a mum blogger in 2020. A dedicated mum to a lively daughter and a dog, Luna, Luciana brings authenticity and passion to every post. Her expertise in parenting and lifestyle topics offers practical, relatable advice for real-life situations.

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