Shops losing up to 25% of floor space due to Covid-19 restrictions

The parent group of Mace, Spar, Londis and XL said 98% of retailers have had to invest in upgrades in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Shops losing up to 25% of floor space due to Covid-19 restrictions
Social distancing measures have been introduced in shops across the country. Stock image

Shops across the country are losing up to 25% of their floor space due to social distancing measures.

The parent group of Mace, Spar, Londis and XL said 98% of retailers have had to invest in upgrades in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Measures such as extra spacing and perspex dividers have been introduced to ensure social distancing.

Group chief executive of BWG Foods, Leo Crawford, said the majority of shops plan to invest further in their business.

"In some cases you can lose up to 10% of floor space, or it can go up to as much as 25%," he said.

"[The loss of floor space] is to ensure that our stores are very safe places to conduct transactions in – safe and convenient, that's our priority with respect to our own retail staff and, most importantly, our customers," he said.

Many retailers have now reopened to customers but the scars caused by the pandemic are evident on streets across Ireland.

In Cork, the impact has been significant for the city's main shopping centre with a number of high-profile businesses shutting their doors for good.

Lawrence Owens, chief executive of the Cork Business Association, said retailing is going through a very challenging period, but he is hopeful the sector will adapt. "Covid-19 has accelerated part of that change, there's no denying that."

However, retailers are still facing difficult circumstances. "Numbers are restricted, the whole customer mindset has been affected by a three-month lockdown," Mr Owens said.

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