Will we ever be able to go shopping with our friends again?

What might a mother-daughter shopping trip look like in July 2020? Masked up to the nines? Linking arms with gloves on? One in, one out at your favourite department store?

It’s an abstract thought at the moment, as non-essential retail stores won’t open again in the UK until at least 1st June. But could the coronavirus crisis have killed off the joy of shopping as a social activity?

Spending an afternoon shopping was something that we as a nation had excelled at. In 2018 the five biggest UK shopping centres – including Westfield in London and Intu Metrocentre in Gateshead – boasted over 157 million visitors between them. A family afternoon out might involve two rounds of browsing at a mega-mall, with lunch somewhere nice in the middle. You might drag your husband or wife out to John Lewis to look at something you’ve had your eye on online for

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You Can Now Virtually Shop with Your Friends, Thanks to Squadded Shopping Party

We’ll be the first to admit that we’ve spent way too much time (and money) during this quarantine online shopping. But there’s just something about adding items to our cart and revamping our wardrobe during this time that fills the void of going to a mall or boutique. The only thing missing? Our gal pals. 

Fear not—now you can virtually shop with all of your friends, thanks to Elysa Kahn. The former L’Oréal brand manager recently launched a new social platform called Squadded Shopping Party that allows users to shop with others in your favorite online stores. 

“The idea of being able to talk to my friends and get an authentic review when I go shopping is very important for me,” Kahn said in a statement. “That element is missing online.” She’s not wrong. 

According to Vogue Business, Kahn created the platform (with some help from her father) by

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Clothes shopping after lockdown: all your questions answered

The Government’s official 50-page guideline released this week for getting Britain back to work, says that “non-essential” stores, such as fashion retailers, may be able to reopen from June 1st, provided that social distancing measures and the correct level of sanitation have been put in place. What does that really mean? When will they be ready? And how will it feel to venture into your favourite retail haunts when their look and mood has dramatically changed?

The socially undistanced queues outside some French branches of Zara last week suggest that some shoppers strongly disagree with their government’s definition of non-essential. You have to wonder what they can get in store that they haven’t been able to buy from the brand’s website, which has been functioning throughout lockdown – other than the visceral instant gratification of trying something on and taking it home.

In the UK, management consulting firm BCG

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This is what clothes shopping could look like post-lockdown

Normally, spring is the time of year when fashion fans head to the shops to update their wardrobes with the latest warm weather styles.

However, in recent weeks typical shopping habits have been thrown out the window due to the coronavirus lockdown, which has seen people stuck at home and all shops deemed to be non-essential forced to close.

Drapers reported in-store sales have dropped 84 per cent compared to 2019, and – despite online grocery sales surging – for the rest of the retail landscape things look bleak.

On Sunday, Boris Johnson announced that restrictions as part of England’s lockdown will begin to ease in the coming weeks with updated guidelines on travelling to work, exercise and meeting family and friends.

But what do the new rules mean when it comes to shopping?

The Independent has spoken to a number of retailers including Arcadia – which

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