Months of stop-start Covid restrictions take their toll on UK retail

Companies slashed prices earlier than usual to lure shoppers online or into branches that remained open

It is a festive season like no other – particularly for the nation’s beleaguered retailers. In a normal trading year, stores would have concentrated on selling as much full-price stock as possible in their peak pre-Christmas trade.

Yet months of stop-start restrictions have taken their toll, leading many British retailers to slash prices earlier than in previous years, even before Christmas Day. Some are also offering deeper discounts, rising to as much as 70% off, in a bid to lure shoppers online or into those branches that remained open.

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