SHOPPERS returned to Newport in force yesterday.

With non-essential retail being allowed to reopen after more than three months of lockdown, many took the chance to visit some of the big brands and independent stores in the city.

Long queues formed early outside of shops such as Primark and Debenhams as people awaited to chance to get their hands on some bargains.

One shopper said: "It's so nice to be able to get out and about in the city again and not have it feel like a ghost town."

It was a big day for traders as well, as they were able to welcome back customers to their stores.

Tracy Stokes, owner of Belle Femme, said it was "great" to be able to reopen, but said she had been left frustrated by the decision not to reopen stores earlier.


Ms Stokes said: "I was ready to open a month ago. We were hoping we could open on March 15 but obviously we had the rug pulled from underneath us.

"I still can't understand why the big boys have been able to trade when we have not.

"It is great to be open again today but I am still worried whether people are going to come back to the high street again after eight months of buying online.


"I just want the high street to survive and thrive again and I think deep down the landlords and council need to do more to help businesses.

"We have free business rates for the next year But I still think we need to do more. We have got empty shops in Newport, reduce the rents, get people in them.

"I think it is a problem elsewhere as well, but in Newport we are set to lose Debenhams in the next few weeks and then that will be another big store stood empty."


While Jade Davis, owner of Luv2Giv, which specialises in personalised clothing, gifts, and hampers, said she was excited to get to know the store's new location.

Previously located on Commercial Street, the store moved in to the Kingsway Centre in December, and managed to trade for a week before the Christmas lockdown was brought in.

Ms Davis said: "We have been able to build a nice customer base over that time so I'm hopeful there are good things to look forward to moving forward."