Shoppers arrived at Westfield White City before sunrise this morning as it opened its doors on the first day after lockdown.
After several days of dismal news about Debenhams and Arcadia Group, West Londoners have returned to Westfield on December 2, intent on kicking off their Christmas shopping.
Close friends Sue and Hayley, who preferred not to give their surnames, were up at 5.30am to begin their Westfield expedition.
“We’re from Berkshire, we got up at 5.30am to come here. We got the kids to school and wanted to get here as early as possible,” said Sue.
Hayley added: “We’re from Hammersmith originally, but we love coming here, this our place.
“It’s been great so far, it’s very organised and safe and the staff were helpful. They really have their s*** together.”
Despite the news of big sales at Topshop, their first stops were at Marks & Spencer, Pret and Abercrombie and Fitch.
The centre opened with little fanfare but was quite busy by 11am.
Besides those sitting down to a coffee, there was scarcely an un-masked face in sight.
Juliet Manarin, 54, who nannies for a family in South Kensington, was similarly glad to be back with a buggy in tow.
“We arrived early this morning, it was good to be here earlier when there was fewer people,” Ms Manarin said.
“I have missed being able to come and do a proper shop. I usually take the children to the playground but that is unfortunately still closed.”
She continued: “I do worry about big shopping centres, with online shopping getting bigger and people feeling scared to go out, but I’m glad to get my Christmas shopping started.”
A 23-year-old man from Acton was looking for a place to sit down and do some work that wasn’t his flat.
“I’m not here to do any shopping, my plan is to get a coffee and just do some work that’s not in my little office at home,” he said.
The marketing executive went on: “It looks well managed here, hopefully it won’t have to close again in January.”
Pictured: Sue and Hayley at Westfield
Please support your local paper by making a donation
Please make cheques payable to “MSI Media Limited” and send by post to South London Press, Unit 112, 160 Bromley Road, Catford, London SE6 2NZ
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has encouraged everyone in the country who can afford to do so to buy a newspaper, and told the Downing Street press briefing recently: “A free country needs a free press, and the newspapers of our country are under significant financial pressure”.
So if you have enjoyed reading this story, and if you can afford to do so, we would be so grateful if you can buy our newspaper or make a donation, which will allow us to continue to bring stories like this one to you both in print and online.