Are toy shops like Smyths, Argos and The Entertainer essential and will they open during lockdown?

ALL non-essential shops across the country are about to close their doors as England gears up for another second lockdown – and this could include toy stores.

Like the first lockdown, the Government have released information about stores that will be allowed to remain open, like supermarkets, pharmacies and garden centres.

While it has yet to publish more detailed guidance on who the new lockdown measures apply to, toy shops will likely have to shut just as they did during the first nationwide lockdown.

The Cabinet Office said that these details will be announced before Thursday, when the new measures are set to kick in.

If toy shops are classed as non-essential, they will be forced to close their doors and parents will have to adapt the way they shop for Christmas presents.

To buy favourites like LEGO, LOL Dolls and nurf guns, shoppers will need to resort to online shopping, leaving aside extra time, and even money in some cases, for their delivery.

The strict new measures were announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson over the weekend as coronavirues infection rises at an alarming rate. 

The lockdown is expected to last until December 2, but they could continue even longer than planned, throwing Christmas shopping into chaos.

Yesterday, Rishi Sunak said "all bets are off" when asked if the national shutdown will end after a month.

Confirmed essential shops

SO far, the Government has confirmed that the following shops will be allowed to stay open but more detailed guidance is yet to come.

  • clothes shops
  • electronics stores
  • car showrooms
  • travel agents
  • betting shops
  • auction houses
  • tailors
  • car washes
  • tobacco and vape shops
  • card shops
  • phone shops
  • jewellery stores
  • toy shops
  • homeware shops
  • bookstores
  • music shops

In the meantime, we've asked the big toy stores how they will operate during lockdown and whether they will be offering click and collect or home deliveries:

Argos

Argos stores in Wales are closed until November 9 and concessions within Sainsbury's supermarkets are also closed, but pre-paid online orders can be collected as part of your essential food shop.

The store confirmed that stores inside Sainsbury's supermarkets will remain open in England to allow customers to collect orders they can place online when they shop for groceries and other essentials.

However, Argos has yet to confirm plans for standalone stores to close and the plans are under review at this moment in time.

Online delivery is still available, including Fast Track from £3.95.

Bargain Max

BargainMax will be closing stores in England from Thursday November 4 but delivery and click & collect will still be available throughout the lockdown.

The toy giant will use myHermes Parcelshops for click & collect services throughout lockdown.

Home delivery will cost £1.99 for an order under £4.99 and free for orders above this price while next day services will be available at £2.99 if the order is under £39.99 and free for orders above that.

On whether deliveries could be delayed, marketing chief Daniel Mckay said "fingers crossed" the delivery network holds up but he added that the first lockdown had fortunately made firms invest and prepare.

The Entertainer

Stores in England will shut from Thursday November 4. Stores in Wales remain closed. Scotland and Northern Ireland stores will remain open.

Home delivery and click & collect will still be available from the 150 stores nationwide during lockdown.

Click & collect is free but only available for orders of £15 or over and should be ready to collect in three working days.

Deliveries are free when you spend more than £49.99 and £3.99 if you spend less. Express delivery for the next working day costs £5.99.

The chain said it would be running deals throughout lockdown with up to 75% off on some sales.

If your basket is eligible for Asda toyou collection, you can pick up your package in Asda stores nationwide as well as myHermes Parcel shops for £4.99.

Gary Grant, founder and executive chairman of The Entertainer said: "There is also concern by retailers that courier services, some of which are already said to be operating at capacity, will not be able to fulfil orders if a big proportion of toy sales now moves online.

"We are currently experiencing Christmas week volumes in store and online as people try to beat the lockdown. We are seeing more toy shortages than we have for many years. We’re asking our customers to plan ahead and shop now for Christmas to avoid disappointment.”

Smyths

Smyths stores in England will be closed from Thursday November 4 until December 2.

However, delivery and click & collect will be available as normal throughout lockdown.

Stores in Wales are closed until Monday November 9 2020.

Click & collect is currently not available while stores are closed. Home delivery is available as normal.

Stores in Scotland and Northern Ireland are open and operating as normal.

We've asked Smyths if deliveries face delays with an increase in demand and how much they will cost.

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