BUSINESSES in Lancashire said they are hoping shoppers will support them in the run up to Christmas.

As shops opened up after the second national coronavirus lockdown, shoppers were heading back to town centres to visit some of their favourite retailers.

The Lancashire Telegraph spoke to shop owners as they re-opened to the public after the latest lockdown.

Eve Lingerie and Nomad Clothing, off Fleming Square in Blackburn, are both run by Janet Bailey and her team. She said the business had suffered hugely in the past year and her company could not afford another closure.

She said: “I am happy to be back open but the last lockdown was tough for us. The year didn’t begin well and we were down 25 per cent on sales. When we reopened in June, up until November we were 40 per cent down. We have not had a penny coming in but still had to pay bills.

“It has been one thing after another and if there is another lockdown in January it would close us down.”

Janet said she furloughed her staff but did not receive a second grant for November. 
She said: “We have had to take a bounce back loan to survive. With Debenhams closing, the next few weeks could impact us as people would be shopping there as they try to get rid of their stock.

“Despite all this I am staying positive and all of us are in the same boat. Our shop is unique in that people like to come in and try the outfits on. We have an appointment system in place and all the necessary covid safety assessments in place too.

“The only positive news is that there is a vaccine and things can get back to a little normality in the coming year.”

Lancashire Telegraph:

Hardi Abbasy, of Dali Barber based on the corner of Brown Street in Burnley, was welcoming customers for the first time in a month yesterday. 

He said: “I am hoping it will be busy this weekend. It has been tough for everyone especially the past month and hopefully things will pick up.”

Lancashire Telegraph:

Sparklez sells a range of handbags and luggage and has been at Blackburn Market for 25 years. Ismail Saleh said: “It is our first day back and we are glad to be open. It has been quiet this year and as small businesses we have still had to pay our bills.”

Lancashire Telegraph:

Next door is Finesse which offers clothes for older generations and first opened at the old market more than 30 years ago. In the winter they specialise in warm padded jackets and waterproof coats.

Jan was helping at the stall as it re-opened. 

She said: “This stall is quite an unusual one as it caters for older people in the community and they have been coming here for years.

“Some of those customers have been in lockdown for months. 

“Things will hopefully pick up before Christmas for everyone, you have to stay positive.”

Lancashire Telegraph:

Lorraine Johnson, of Le Rain Florist, had laid out her annual Christmas decorations at her stall. She said: “I am optimistic about the run up to Christmas. I think a lot of people just want to get back to shopping.”