Primark shoppers queue from dawn for first chance to grab a bargain as April 12 rules mean non-essential shops reopen

EAGER shoppers queued from dawn to grab a bargain at Primark as non-essential shops reopened today. 

Brits hit the High Street early this morning as lockdown restrictions were eased after four months of lockdown.

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Pictures show shoppers queuing outside a Primark stores in Birmingham and West Thurrock, Essex as the retailer opened its doors at 6am.

The retail giant has reopened 160 shops in England and Wales today, with opening hours extended across almost all stores.

This week, stores will open for two extra hours per day on average – typically an hour earlier and later.

Only essential shops have been allowed to open since January in the latest lockdown, including supermarkets and pharmacies.

It comes as:

  • Boris Johnson urged Brits to behave responsibly as pubs reopened
  • Brits flocked to get haircuts for the first time in months as salons reopened
  • Here is our ultimate guide to lockdown rules as they are eased today
  • Brits have been urged to raise a toast to Prince Philip following the Duke's death on Friday
  • Boris Johnson had his personal barber visit Downing Street this morning for a fresh trim

Meanwhile, Brits also hit the pubs and the gym early this morning as lockdown restrictions were eased.

Keen punters were seen waiting patiently in line for pubs to open at midnight.

Shaggy-haired Brits also flocked to get their hair cut for the first time in months as salons reopened at midnight.

Pent-up demand will see £1.5billion — that’s £2.7million a minute — spent in venues and reopening attractions between 9am and 6pm.

Work leave requests for today are up almost 20 per cent.

Speaking ahead of the reopening, Paul Marchant, Primark's chief executive, said: “It’s great to be back.

"Our stores are fully stocked with fresh new season fashion, all at Primark’s famous amazing prices.

"Between our great value, everyday must-haves and hot new season trend collections, we’ve got everything our customers have been waiting for."

Boris Johnson urged the nation to "behave responsibly" as shops and pubs reopened after months of lockdown.

"I'm sure it will be a huge relief for those business owners who have been closed for so long, and for everyone else it's a chance to get back to doing some of the things we love and have missed," Mr Johnson said.

"I urge everyone to continue to behave responsibly and remember 'hands, face, space and fresh air' to suppress Covid as we push on with our vaccination programme."


Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said it was a "big day" for reopening businesses, and that many were "excited and desperate" to welcome customers back.

"It's a big day for the country and it's a big day for all of these businesses reopening their doors today," she told Sky News.

"They are very excited and desperate to welcome their customers back (with) the focus on safety."

Last time non-essential retailers opened up was after the second lockdown last year.

Stores reopened on December 2, 2020 and many had extended opening hours to make up for lost shopping time and ensure covid safety.

Many cafes have also reopened from 8am.

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