The ‘other’ Glorious 12th sees retail open for business

Many retailers set to exhibit at The Game Fair this summer got their tills ringing early as non-essential shops in England and Wales opened their doors for the first time in months on Monday.

Hopefully, those in Scotland and Northern Ireland won’t be too far behind but all the signs are that the ‘Glorious 12th’ of April was a fantastic start to spring (despite snow in a number of places).

Mark Osborne, managing director of top sporting retailer William Powell in Banbury, told us: “William Powell opened on Tuesday rather than the Monday when most others opened. We had a pretty good trade on clothing and one person come in and choose a gun (a new William Powell Sovereign). He had been wanting to do that for three months!

“The team worked tirelessly ahead of reopening to ensure the shop is brimmed with fabulous stock. Our friendly, expert team, who have a passion for country pursuits, are back on-hand to assist with product selection and offer any advice or assistance our customers may require.

“We’ve also ensured our customers can shop safely at their own leisure with relevant safety protocols in place. We very much look forward to the coming weeks and continuing to see familiar faces!”

Meanwhile, a spokesman for Bredon Hill Country said: “It’s great to be back open again and seeing our customers and new faces coming into the shop. We’re looking forward to getting back to normal. Thank you to our customers during lockdown for their continued support.”

The Gun Trade Association’s deputy director, Lin Oxley, was delighted to see shops opening again and said: ‘“Safety will still be a huge concern of course, Boris urges caution, saying ‘We can’t be complacent.’ Hygiene rules and Covid-secure procedures will continue to be in place, face-coverings, distancing, and sanitising but optimism seems high from both the trade and the public.
“There are many bored lockdown shooters itching to get to their local store and stock up on gun-related wares. Demand and curiosity for new products is strong. Retailers I’ve spoken with report a little trepidation but that their main fear is not having enough stock. Brexit raises its head again with delays from Spain and Italy in particular.
“Each dealer will open and operate according to its own circumstances, shop space and so on. Some will have an appointment-only arrangement. Some have released staff from furlough, some are treading cautiously and waiting to see how sales pan out. The overwhelming feeling seems to be of relief.”

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