The latest issue of ERT is out now!

You can view the February 2021 digital issue of ERT here.

Editor’s comment: Playing the waiting game

Welcome to the February issue of ERT!

So the wait continues a little while longer before retail stores can open up again, which is a real shame. No doubt many retailers will question what difference another five weeks will make as I’m sure you’re all itching – and probably have been for some time – to get back and welcome your customers once again.

However, it’s a positive sign at least that we now have a date this can happen, and of course the safety of the public and store staff is paramount. But there’s finally something to look forward to and April can’t come soon enough!

There is no denying that the UK is hurtling towards that proverbial light at the end of the tunnel and everything will hopefully begin to feel much better very soon.

I was interested to hear at the Prime Minister’s press conference his thoughts on the effects of lockdown on the UK’s town and city centres and what it means for businesses that thrive on high street footfall.

Boris Johnson said there will be changes as a result of the pandemic – it will be interesting to see if he’s right and what specifically does change – but he doesn’t believe there will be a fundamental change to urban life in general.

“Our great cities will bounce back along with the rest of the economy,” he said optimistically. “They will be full of buzz and life and excitement again, provided people have confidence about coming back.”

Mr Johnson added that this confidence will come as we move through the stages of his roadmap and people get a sense that the virus is “finally being controlled”.

I’m sure, like many of you, I’m clinging on to this optimism! I believe better times are on the horizon. Following the PM’s speech, the public’s sense of excitement and anticipation… and freedom!… can only mean good things for retailers. Consumers will be let loose on the high streets again with money potentially burning holes in their pockets as they inevitably try to make up for lost time during this latest lockdown. It’s the perfect opportunity to cash in!

We saw in the first two weeks of December shopper counts were boosted by pent-up demand from November’s lockdown; admittedly this was helped by Christmas shopping, but the analogy remains the same.

We’ve potentially got a huge Summer of sport on the way, too, which could be enough encouragement for consumers to continue spending money on their homes!

This month, I hosted the ERT Turning Point Live! conference. Running over four consecutive days (9-12 February), it was made up of a series of unique online webinars covering a variety of topics to help electrical retailers strive to be the very best!

To reflect the current restrictions in place across the UK, we held the conference online so that attendees could still benefit but from the safety of their own home.

I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone that tuned in throughout the week to watch the presentations. I hope you enjoyed them and found them useful and they gave you some food for thought as you continue trading in very unique circumstances.

We were lucky enough to hear from an incredible line-up of guest speakers – Nick Simon, Daniel Todaro, Bill Miller, Lyn Knight, Matthew Todd, Martyn Allen, Rosie Clarke and Paul Laville – and I extend my sincere thanks to each of them for taking the time to be involved!

You can still watch all the conference webinars online any time via the ERT website.

Hopefully after Boris’s latest announcement we can look forward to gathering together for the next Turning Point Live! conference in person later this year. Fingers crossed!

Jack Cheeseman – Editor –

View the February 2021 digital issue of ERT.