With shops in Scotland re-opening on July 13th, Revo’s Financial Controller Yvonne Boyd heads to Hammerson’s Silverburn Centre, near Glasgow
Much has been written about the different approaches the UK’s four home nations are taking to ease their lockdown restrictions. Here in Scotland we’ve had to wait a full month longer than our English counterparts for our shops and retail centres to open again. Monday 13th July was the key date and since 18 weeks have passed since my last shopping trip (other than my weekly supermarket visit) you would think I’d be eager to get to Silverburn, the glittering out-of-town shopping centre near Glasgow. Usually a trip here is so routine you barely blink an eye, so I was surprised to find myself feeling quite nervous as I drove there. Is this how the ‘new normal’ is supposed to feel?
Fortunately, once I arrived I was quickly put at ease. Staff were available at all the entrances, welcoming everyone, checking for face coverings as you enter the Shopping Centre (mandatory in Scotland and being monitored by centre staff) and pointing out hand-sanitiser. Silverburn has adopted a one-way system and there were clear markings to guide you around and encourage you to keep your distance. In every shop I entered I was greeted by an assistant who explained their new offering, such as no changing facilities in clothes shops, no restaurants in shops who had them (we have to wait until the 15th), how to pay and so on. It was evident that a lot of work had been carried out by everyone to ensure that opening day went as smoothly as possible. Staff were very eager to chat to customers and one assistant told me that was what she had missed most.
I spoke to David Pierotti, Silverburn’s General Manager, whose team had worked so hard to ensure everything worked perfectly and he was pleased with how things were going in the first couple of hours of opening. Footfall was down but spend was up and there was certainly a buzz about the place.
I arrived thinking that my trip was for research only, but I was quickly seduced by my surroundings and ended up bringing home several shopping bags. How quickly I went from feeling apprehensive to thoroughly enjoying myself – shopping, chatting and soaking up the atmosphere. I felt great when I got home and I’m already looking forward to my next trip. Welcome back Scottish retail! Lang may yer lum reek!