It is an exciting time for retailers in Lincoln, as they welcome customers back into stores after the relaxation of lockdown guidelines, but not everyone on the High Street has reopened.
The financial turmoil of the last year, brought on by the coronavirus pandemic and a long stretch of not being able to trade due to lockdown, has caused many companies to fall into administration and/or close stores.
Even big chains aren’t safe from this, and The Lincolnite took a walk down Lincoln High Street to see which stores haven’t reopened from April 12, when government guidelines allowed for them to return.
There were initially big plans for Patisserie Valerie’s unit once the business was forced to close amid a national fraud scandal, with live music and coffee venue Stray’s scheduled to take over the shop in the spring of 2020. However, no progress has been made with that deal, presumably as a result of the pandemic, and the unit is still vacant.
The tale of this electronics store on the High Street is a peculiar one. It closed all of its national stores in February 2019, then returned in Lincoln in May, then closed again for lockdown, and hasn’t reopened since.
The bright and colourful shoe retailer will be waiting before it welcomes customers back, choosing to open on Saturday, April 24.
Eqvvs/ Eqvvs Women
A slightly delayed return for the fashion retailer, which has waited until Thursday, April 15 to open its Lincoln stores. This includes the Eqvvs store itself, as well as the Eqvvs Women store close by.
After what feels like a never-ending wait, TGI Fridays is very nearly ready to open its doors in Lincoln. The American-style restaurant chain took over the unit from Carluccio’s, after the Italian brand went into administration in March 2020. Fridays’ move was announced in July, planned to open before Christmas, delayed until January, then delayed again before a promise of a spring opening.
A shock departure from our High Street, Two Seasons quietly closed its doors overnight in August and hasn’t been open again since.
The sport retailer did reopen after the first lockdown, but its future is in doubt after not returning on April 12 this time round. The Facebook page has disappeared, and the website link to the Lincoln page doesn’t work. Could this be it for Intersport on the High Street?
Financial pressure brought on by COVID-19, as well as the “changing dynamics of the High Street”, meant the chocolate retailer closed all of its UK stores in March 2021.
Topshop and Topman
After Sir Philip Green’s retail empire Arcadia Group fell into administration back in November, online fashion website Asos bought out the Topshop and Topman brands, but the physical stores were kept closed. This was also the case for the Lincoln branches inside Waterside Shopping Centre.
The mobile retailer was among the first to close its doors amid the coronavirus pandemic, shutting all 531 standalone stores in March 2020.
After Monsoon Accessorize entered administration and announced 35 store closures in June 2020, it was expected that the Lincoln Monsoon branch would not reopen. However, Accessorize was open on the High Street this week, leaving Monsoon’s future in jeopardy.
This won’t come as a surprise to many, given the store’s abrupt end to life on Lincoln High Street back in July, with the sign painted over and a rumoured 50 stores closing across the UK.
Little Gift Shop
Little Gift Shop near the railway crossing on the High Street closed for good in September 2020 after six years in business. The unit has yet to be taken over by a new premises.
Lockdown has been difficult for so many charities across the country, and Linkage is no different to that. They lost the Lincoln High Street store last year and it is now up for let with JHWalter. There are now just two Linkage stores in the area, one on the Bailgate and another in Birchwood.
Boots Opticians had a change of scenery in 2019 when it moved into the main Boots store, also on the High Street. Planning has now been submitted for another opticians, Acuitis Optical and Hearing, to move in there, and is pending council approval.
This unit has been an eventful one over the last few years, with Gametronics being there from 2014 to 2019, before a merger with Game saw that store close. It was replaced by Fone Doctor, which did not last long and ended up closing in January 2020.
Ruddocks of Lincoln
The wait for a new tenant at the former Ruddocks of Lincoln site has been a long one. Ruddocks closed on the High Street in 2017, after more than 160 years in business. After a couple of years planning, work has now begun on replacing it with an arcade bar called Carousel, which will also have a Quickdraw virtual shooting range.
The popular coffee bar will be reopening on May 19, should the government roadmap still allow it, due to a lack of outdoor space. Staff have refurbished the inside and have said they “cannot wait” to come back.
Stokes High Bridge Cafe
An institution in the city of Lincoln, the near 100-year-old coffee shop has been offering a delivery service throughout lockdown, and that has continued through April. Due to coronavirus measures not yet permitting people to dine-in for food or drink, High Bridge Cafe cannot reopen in that capacity until May. The Lawn on Union Road is open, however.