It was all smiles on Monday as a small sense of normality returned to our lives here in South Wales. Shops and malls reopened much to the delight of the eager shoppers who were keen to buy anything they didn’t have to cook or eat.

We’d already seen the pictures coming out of England, and have to say have felt a touch of shopping envy as we witnessed huge crowds queuing for a whole manner of non-essential items. Even Anne Summers saw long lines as eager shoppers waited for the doors to open.

We’re not sure what that says about us, or our shopping desires, but nevertheless, it was good to see people back out again.

Here in South Wales, it was a big week for retail outlets, as they prepared to welcome crowds, and as suspected, plenty turned out to spend and enjoy some much-needed social distancing retail therapy. Scroll down the page to see who is open and what precautions they have in place.

As we waited for a raft of non-essential shops to open their doors we can’t help but wonder if our shopping habits have changed forever?

A survey commissioned by global commerce services company PFS to look at changes in consumer online purchasing behaviour, as well as their perceptions and expectations of brands around the pandemic finds that three in five (60%) consumers have purchased more goods since the lockdown began, than they did before, with 53% having shopped more online.

More than three quarters (77%) of these went on to say that they expect they will continue to purchase online more once the lockdown is over – indicating a potentially irreversible change in consumer purchasing behaviour.

Some 39% of respondents also reported that they had been encouraged to purchase products online that they had not considered before, such as pet food and shoes, which increased to 61% for Generation Z and more than half (52%) of Millennials – good news for online retailers.

Conversely, 50% of shoppers report unsatisfactory online shopping experiences resulting in them being left disappointed at not being able to get something they wanted delivered. This rises to 75% of Gen Z and 63% of Millennials.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, more than a third (36%) of consumers have struggled with online grocery deliveries in particular, having tried to get a delivery slot, but failed.

When it comes to non-essential items, a quarter (26%) say that their purchasing of clothing online had decreased, while 18% have bought fewer cosmetics and luxury goods online since the lockdown. Purchasing of technology has also decreased for 19% of all respondents. Over half (53%) did concede that they are spending less on fashion as they aren’t going out.

Meanwhile, 19% report they have increased their purchasing online of healthcare items, and a quarter (25%) of Millennials have increased their purchasing of home, garden and DIY products online.

Following the Welsh Government announcement on Friday, and a gradual relaxation of restrictions, it’s our turn to enjoy a very slow return back to sort sort of normality, if there will ever be such a thing again.

It goes without saying, but we’re going to anyway, that all social distancing measures will be in place. It’s the simple rules we need to adhere to as we try to find a way back into our world.

  • Keep clear of people on the way to and from the shops, and when inside them as well.
  • Be patient and take your turn to get to the goodies.
  • Even with self-service and pin pads, you’ll come into contact with surfaces that have been handled by many people.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth until you have washed your hands.
  • There will of course be exceptions, but try and shop alone if at all possible.
  • Above all else, respect others. Remember, we are still in this together.

So, let’s come on to the good stuff, the shops we can visit for something other than a loaf of bread and pint of milk.

The McArthur Designer outlet in Bridgend is now open.

The centre made this announcement……….

We hope you, your families, friends and loved ones are keeping well in these difficult times.

In line with the latest Welsh Government update, McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Bridgend will re-open on Monday 22nd June with reduced opening hours from 10am to 6pm, Monday to Sunday.
We have been working closely with the local authorities and have implemented the Government recommended measures to ensure the safety and welfare of our customers, brand partners and employees.

In order to comply with the relevant guidance, we request that all customers:

• Bear in mind that good hygiene is key to minimising the spread of the COVID-19 virus. We have made hand sanitisers available in common areas and have implemented a cleaning regime that ensures public spaces and high touch points are regularly disinfected.
• Follow the guidance on social distancing. Please keep at least 2 metres from other customers. Stores will be required to limit customer numbers and systems will be in place to monitor social distancing.
• If possible, wear a face covering in enclosed public spaces where social distancing isn’t possible and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet.
• Use contactless payment options while shopping wherever possible.
• Consider the “stay local” 5-mile travel rule before planning a trip to the centre.

We will continue to monitor the situation closely and provide updates accordingly.

The majority of stores will be opening and while the wearing of face masks is not a requirement, they are advising if at all possible. If you’d like to make your own, take a look at our page HERE.

The Food Court will also re-open, but, as in line with all other sores, social distancing measures will be in place and it will be take-away only. Sadly the cinema will remain closed for the time being.

If you want to see what is going on, and find out more about the centre, go here. DESIGNER

St David’s in Cardiff is also open. Once again they want your shopping experience to be safe, so have put in place a host of measures they think will help.

They have rolled out lots of new in-centre signage to help you keep a safe distance from others while shopping. There’s also a one-way system in place. Simply follow the arrows on the floor.

They have also installed hand sanitiser stations, and the in-centre cleaning teams will be working harder than ever to help make St David’s a safe place for everybody.

When they first reopen, they will be monitoring capacity and the stores will have limits on the number of people who can enter. This may result in the need to queue. A queuing system will be introduced for entry to the centre should capacity be reached.

The core opening hours remain the same as usual, but individual store opening hours are subject to change and they will be updating you on their website, so please check ahead. Some shops may not be open. You can do that right HERE.

Stores at Cwmbran Centre, previously deemed non-essential have re-open for business.

A great deal of effort has gone into making Cwmbran a safe place for staff and customers, including measures such as enhanced cleaning regimes, increased security presence and physical signage. Everyone has a part to play in this, and they ask you all to take care of each other and follow the social distancing guidelines as closely as possible at all times.

To find out how they are helping us to stay safe, take a look at their video below.

For more details on the Cwmbran Centre, go here. CWMBRAN

Friars Walk in Newport is also opening up today, with the following announcement.

Welcome back!

Following government advice, Friars Walk will reopen from Monday 22nd June. Please check for opening hours and to see which stores are open below.

We want to reassure you that the wellbeing of our staff and visitors is our top priority, and we’ve made a number of changes to your shopping experience to help you and keep you safe.

We continue to monitor the situation and the Welsh government’s public health guidance closely, and we will keep all of our visitors updated via our website and social media channels.

Below is a list of shops that will be open from 22nd June – please check their individual store pages for opening hours (please note: if individual business opening hours have not been added to the website, this means that we have not had these confirmed by the store manager; in this instance, please contact them directly before travelling to the centre)

We will add to this list as and when stores reopen:

  • Debenhams
  • Holland & Barrett
  • H&M
  • JD
  • M&S Food
  • Muffin Break
  • River Island

For more details on Friars Walk just go here. FRIARS

There’s also the Newport Retail Park which has over 30 stores at Spytty Park. With the likes of Next, River Island, JD, Clarks, Trespass and more, there will no doubt be busy car parks over the coming weeks.

To find out what they’re up to, go here. SPYTTY

There’s been no announcement about the Quadrant in Swansea. The centre remains partially closed, with only Boots, Holland & Barrett, WH Smith and Superdrug open. For more details, go here. QUADRANT

Festival park in Ebbw Vale will be closed, apart from the stores already servicing locals. Poundland, Holland & Barrett and Fresh N Fruity will continue to open as they have during the crisis.

For more information, and to keep updated, go here. FESTIVAL

After the long wait, Nicholls in Abergavenny will reopen on this coming Thursday, 25th. They are putting all necessary safety measures in place and more details on these will follow in the coming days.

Their other stores in Crickhowell and Brecon will remain closed for the time being (as will the coffeeshop), but for now, they look forward to welcoming loyal customers back to their store. For more details, go here. NICHOLLS

It’s going to be a fun, strange and no doubt busy time at our shopping outlets, and we’re looking forward to seeing staff back at work. It will be a gradual process and one we all have a part to play in. Have fun, but above all, stay safe.


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