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Retailers and hospitality firms have warned of the devastating financial impact of the forthcoming month-long lockdown in England, saying it threatens billions of pounds worth of Christmas trade, putting hundreds of thousands of jobs at risk.

Rather than the c.£50bn normally spent on on-food goods in the weeks leading up to Christmas, spend is predicted to drop by about 80% during November as Britons are told to shop only for essentials. The British Retail Consortium (BRC) says the lockdown will impact the viability of “thousands of shops and hundreds of thousands of jobs”

Analysts said the closure of the high street would push shoppers further towards online specialists such as Amazon, although the warehouse giant had already warned it was going to be “stretched” to meet the huge volume of orders expected.

Likewise, Britain’s struggling pubs, restaurants and hotels bank as much as 40% of their annual profits between Halloween and January, but this year nearly 53,000 pubs, restaurants and cafes in England will have to shut, causing UKHospitality’s Kate Nicholls, to say the hospitality industry has already been “pushed to the limits” by the pandemic, with many venues already closing.

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