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Opening day for Trafford Centre’s huge new Primark has been confirmed

Big news!

Jamie Roberts

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Gerald England / Geograph

We’ve known for a while that a massive new Primark is coming to the Trafford Centre, but now we know the exact date it’ll open.

The popular budget retailer has been busy finishing up its new store at Barton Square ready for its launch this spring.

It’ll be the 190th Primark store to open in the UK, creating more than 300 jobs in the process, and it looks set to be one of the biggest to boot.

TOOEDDD / Wikimedia

The new branch will take up a whopping 64,800 square ft of retail space spread out over two floors, as part of the shopping centre’s £75 million redevelopment of the Barton Square area.

Kari Rodgers, Primark’s director of sales UK, North said: “We are delighted to be opening our new store in the redeveloped Barton Square at intu Trafford Centre.

“We are looking forward to extending our offering of amazing fashion at amazing prices along with exciting in-store experiences to the people of Manchester and the surrounding areas.”

Eirian Evans / Geograph

The official opening date is Friday March 20th – so get that in your diary – and in more good news you’ll soon be able to get the tram out to the new store, as the brand new Metrolink line out to the Trafford Centre is opening a lot earlier than expected.

The Trafford Park Metrolink tram line was completed in November last year, with the last 15 metres of track being laid and the final concrete pour bringing construction on the project to an end.

While TfGM had predicted trams to be running by late 2020, they will in fact be fully open to passengers from April this year, a whole seven months before the project was initially scheduled for completion.

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Ikea is reopening 19 stores on June 1st including Manchester

It’s happening!

Proper Manchester

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Michael Ely / Geograph

If you’ve been missing your Swedish flat-pack furniture fix we’ve got some good news for you.

Ikea is set to reopen 19 stores across the country and the Manchester branch is on the list.

The stores will open across England and Northern Ireland from June 1st, Belfast Live reports.

Gerald England / Geograph

There’ll be strict new safety measures in place to ensure social distancing, according to the retailer.

Ikea says social distancing wardens will patrol the stores and the number of customers will also be limited.

Unfortunately, play areas and the legendary restaurants will remain closed, but you can grab some meatballs from the food market to make at home.

The full list of stores that are reopening on June 1st: 

  • Croydon
  • Greenwich
  • Lakeside
  • Wembley
  • Tottenham
  • Norwich collection point
  • Birmingham
  • Nottingham
  • Belfast
  • Manchester
  • Warrington
  • Gateshead
  • Leeds
  • Sheffield
  • Milton Keynes
  • Reading
  • Southampton
  • Bristol
  • Exeter

Sites in Scotland and Wales will continue to remain closed, in line with their regional government’s coronavirus advice.

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Wetherspoons reveals plan to reopen its 875 UK pubs

Just in…

Alex Watson

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Wetherspoons has revealed plans to reopen its pubs, including a reduced menu and temperature checks for staffs. 

All pubs closed nine weeks ago now, on March 20th ahead of the lockdown on March 23rd due to coronavirus. 

In the government’s latest advise regarding lockdown easing, pubs, hairdressers, cinemas and restaurants won’t be able to open fully until July at the earliest. 

Credit: summonedbyfells / Flickr

Many pubs and restaurants in the meantime have been offering takeaway and delivery services to keep going throughout lockdown.

Wetherspoons pubs like many others have been shut, but this week the chain has announced plans on how it will reopen when the lockdown is eased.

The chain has announced it will be investing £11 million into new measures to keep staff and customers safe.

Its pubs will have temperature checks for all staff before they are allowed back to work, and they will also be offering a massively reduced menu.

Wetherspoons will be employing two full-time staff per pub that will regularly clean surfaces and touchpoints such as door handles, allergen information screens, card payment machines and handrails. 

Credit: Ben Sutherland / Flickr

The chain is said to be opening all of its 875 pubs across the UK and Republic of Ireland as soon as its given the official go-ahead from the relevant governments. 

Wetherspoons’ chief executive, John Hutson, said: “At present the government have not confirmed any reopening date for pubs. However, it is important that we are prepared for any announcement.

“We have spent a number of weeks consulting with staff who work in our pubs, as well as area managers in order to draw up our plans.

“We have received more than 2,500 suggestions from our staff. The safety of our staff and customers is paramount.”

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First look at what post-lockdown pubs could be like

Thoughts?

Alex Watson

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Oakman Inns

Pubs will likely see some huge changes when they do finally reopen, including revamped layouts, tables separated by screens, disposable menus and ordering on an app. 

One of the most popular conversations we are all having at the moment is where we’re going when everywhere is back open. Will you be heading straight to the pub, going for a slap-up meal or something else entirely? 

Now that we have an end date in mind, with some pubs potentially opening from July 4th, it’s time for the hospitality world to come to terms with the new business-as-usual in post-lockdown life.

Credit: Oakman Inns

A pub in Buckinghamshire, the Betsey Wynne, has undertaken a revamp based on the coronavirus 2-metre social distancing rules, including putting up plastic separation screens on neighbouring tables.

Customers will read from disposable menus that will be used once, and are expected to place their orders through an app, or preorder where possible.

Peter Borg-Neal, the founder of Oakman Inns – which owns the the Betsey Wynne – hopes this pub can be used as the blueprint for when all bars and restaurants are allowed to reopen.

It’s predicted this could be as early as July 4th should the ‘R’ continue to decrease and we successfully enter the third and final phase of the government’s proposed lockdown exit plan.

Credit: Oakman Inns

The future of retail after Covid-19 remains uncertain, it has been one of the hardest-hit industries, placing a huge strain on the hospitality sector. 

While many retail stores have relied heavily on online orders, concerns have been raised for the future of brick and mortar establishments as online orders have spiked exponentially in lockdown. E-commerce is on an upward trajectory that is unlikely to slow after lockdown eases. 

Many retail stores we are used to seeing on the high street may no longer be there when the lockdown is lifted, with places such as Oasis & Warehouse, Laura Ashley, Debenhams, Brighthouse and Cath Kidston having all filed for administration. John Lewis is also expecting not to reopen all of its department stores after lockdown.

Ensuring the safety of staff and customers remains paramount for the successful reopening of any business when the lockdown measures ease. 

However, COVID-19 has caused one of the biggest and most drastic shifts in consumer behaviour in recent decades meaning retail as we know it might be changed forever. 

As of yet, there has been no government advice on the reopening of restaurants, which all currently remain closed for dine-in customers, but many people are assuming it will echo the measures currently in place. 

Credit: Oakman Inns

Across the world, restaurants that have reopened have seen restrictions on capacity and strict measures of a 2-metre distance.

Many restaurants will likely need to have a massive overhaul to remain open and profitable. Including, rearranging kitchens so chefs can work back to back, fewer tables and seats spread further apart and increasing outdoor eating and drinking areas where possible. 

The issue still remains though, will customers return when restaurants are back open? It’s unlikely that the industry will return to how we used to know it for a while and in some cases, never.

Will you be heading straight down to the local when it reopens? Let us know in the Facebook comments. 

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