HUNDREDS of people took advantage of the first weekend of shopping after 'non-essential' shops reopening earlier in the week following the ending of lockdown on December 2.

In preparation, retailers have made their buildings safe for customers while some have organised festive events to entice shoppers.

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Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said: “Safety remains the biggest priority for retailers, who have spent hundreds of millions to make stores Covid-secure.

“With billions in sales lost during lockdown, stores are looking to offer a safe and enjoyable shopping experience to bring back customers.

“Christmas is around the corner so everyone has a reason to be visiting their local shops.

“Every purchase we make is a retailer helped, a job protected and a local community supported.”

In Malvern, the Great Malvern Christmas Market went ahead in a Covid-secure way today, albeit scaled down to an arts and craft.

Annette Thomas, 62, from Malvern and a visitor to the market, said: "It feels very safe walking around with people in hi-viz vests giving advice if needed on Covid-19 and lots of hand sanitiser stations all around.

"Visitors are keeping distanced and one stall holder politely told a customer to take a step back and the customer did so and apologised - a real feel of 'we are all in this together'.

"I was a bit worried before I came but I've had such a good time with my husband and daughter."