Primark is the last great hope for Birmingham city centre streets, according to the Street Traders’ Association.
BirminghamLive headed down to the city centre today – the first Saturday for Christmas shopping since lockdown – and found only one significant queue.
With social distancing on the agenda, crowds were few and far between anywhere we visited across a morning of trading – except Primark.
There were about 50 people queuing outside the giant High Street store at around 11am.
It was a stark contrast to how quiet Debenhams was at the time – despite a sale and closing down signs going up in the Bullring.
Street Traders’ Association chairman Allan Poole said, from his stall opposite the Rotunda, the city would struggle without boasting one of the world’s biggest Primark stores.
He said: “If it wasn’t for Primark shopping in this city would be absolutely dead. The reason why people come here is because you cannot buy Primark stuff online.
“Debenhams will be quiet because they have put everything online so why do you need to go there to shop?”
It has been a week like no other for the ailing High Street.
Debenhams plunged into liquidation this week after struggling against the High Street decline, exacerbated by the coronavirus lockdown.
Thousands of children in Birmingham face a Christmas without a proper home this year – but there is something you can do.
Our campaign, Grant a Christmas #BrumWish, aims to help buy presents for more than 1,000 youngsters cramped together, sharing beds, in soulless rooms in B&Bs, and others who will be in a Women’s Aid refuge.
It is all through an Amazon Wish List – meaning you can personally buy a present that will be delivered before December 25.
Buy a present for a homeless child here
Make sure you set delivery to the #BrumWish Campaign, and we will ensure the presents get to the kids.
If you can’t get on Amazon, you can donate cash through the Winter Wellbeing VirginMoney page – just make sure to put the word BRUM in the comments so it comes through to #BrumWish.
Elsewhere, Philip Green’s Arcadia group, the owner of brands including Topshop, Miss Selfridge and Wallis, collapsed into administration. A total of 25,000 jobs are now at risk at the two companies, which were once part of the Burton Group
We toured Birmingham city centre from around 10am today, December 5, and found most areas fairly quiet.
Aside from Primark, there was a queue at Greggs near lunchtime and the Bullring was free of crowds until lunchtime, when it started to get busier.
Selfridges, the other anchor store at Bullring, had vast areas for queues which went unused across the morning.