CUSTOMERS turned out in force yesterday as retail parks, high streets and shopping centres re-opened after a three-month shutdown.

Lengthy queues of often-masked shoppers formed, many well before opening times, as people stepped out to bag a bargain or browse the rails.

Figures released on Monday afternoon by retail experts Springboard showed that the morning’s total retail footfall across high streets, shopping centres and retail parks in England increased by 41.7 per cent in comparison to last week.

These are promising early signs for the retail sector, but it is worth remembering that when compared to the same day last year, footfall across all retail destinations in England is still about a third less. This is to be expected, with many vulnerable people still shielding, and others moving to online shopping.

As welcome as yesterday’s orderly queues were for many businesses, they will need many more busy days to recover from the lockdown. Supporting our local traders will be more crucial than ever in the coming days, weeks and months.