In Brief

Timpson warns some retail chains won't survive lockdown

Key-cutting boss says the high street will be ‘somewhat different’ after coronavirus

Some big high street names will not survive the coronavirus lockdown, warns the chairman of key-cutting and repair firm Timpson.

Speaking to Radio 4, John Timpson said high streets would look “somewhat different” after the measures are relaxed.

As the 155-year-old business prepared to reopen 40 of its outlets this week, he said: “There are going to be some other names that don't come back.”

All UK stores deemed “non-essential” have been shut since Boris Johnson imposed strict measures to tackle the spread of coronavirus on 23 March.

As the BBC points out, the lockdown came at a “bad time” for the high street, which faced a consumer spending slowdown before the pandemic hit.

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The Timpson chief says staff will return to outlets based in supermarkets, which are classified as essential retailers, along with a small number of the group's high street dry-cleaning stores.

Timpson, whose family founded the business, told the Today Programme: “The most important part of this is to get the safety right."

He admitted: “Until we get there we don't know how particularly the social distancing is going to work, bearing in mind we've got a shop inside someone else's shop.”

However, the retailer will give staff face masks and install perspex screens to separate them from customers at the checkout.

Meanwhile, Greggs has also put forward plans to reopen its outlets during the coronavirus lockdown. It said it planned to reopen a small number of stores for takeaway and delivery next week.

The chief of the bakery chain has told workers of plans to open 20 stores in the Newcastle area from 4 May as part of a “controlled trial”.

As more chains examine the prospect of reopening, Burger King, Pret a Manger and KFC have already opened the doors of a small number of sites for takeaway and delivery.

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