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Clintons blasts supermarkets over greetings cards

Greetings cards retailer Clintons has criticised how supermarkets are still being allowed to sell cards during the English novel coronavirus (Covid-19) lockdown, while specialist shops have had to temporarily close.

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Non-essential shops in England must remain closed until December 2nd

Upon setting out the rules for England’s lockdown, the government said that only essential retailers would be permitted to remain open, with others having to shut until at least December 2nd.

However, retailers deemed essential such as supermarkets are being allowed to continue selling non-essential items if they usually stock these products on their shelves.

Eddie Shepherd, chief executive of Clintons, has openly criticised this approach, telling the BBC it is “grossly unfair” and it leaves retailers such as Clintons at a major disadvantage moving into the critical Christmas period.

“If our category and product is deemed to be non-essential, which it is, then that should apply in all retail scenarios,” Shepherd says, adding: “But garden centres and supermarkets often operate card and gift sections as large as some High Street stores and they are able to continue to trade in these sections whilst we're not.

“I think elements of the legislation are unclear and it’s affording an ambiguity that people are able to exploit.”

James Daunt, managing director of book store chain Waterstones, voiced similar criticism, saying it is unfair his stores had to close while other retailers seen as essential can continue to sell books.

Daunt told the BBC: “I don't think anyone would object to the supermarkets being open to sell food and pharmacies to sell medicines.

“What I am objecting to is really very comparable retailers are open, and others closed, and I think that really hurts the independents.”

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