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Share Price Information for AB Foods (ABF)

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Share Price: 2,045.00
Bid: 2,044.00
Ask: 2,045.00
Change: 3.00 (0.15%)
Spread: 1.00 (0.05%)
Open: 2,036.00
High: 2,064.00
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Yest. Close: 2,042.00
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UPDATE 3-'I'm so excited' - England reopens with pints pulled, shopping sprees and hair cuts

Mon, 12th Apr 2021 07:38

* English shops and pub gardens reopen as lockdown eases

* Hundreds of people queue for Primark and JD Sports

* Drinkers lift a pint after midnight as pubs open

* It's like a birthday - hairdresser says
(Recasts, adds quotes and detail)

By Carl Recine, Kate Holton and Sarah Young

BIRMINGHAM, England, April 12 (Reuters) - Crowds queued up
outside shops, pubs started selling pints at midnight and
hairdressers welcomed desperate customers on Monday as England
started to reopen its economy after three months of lockdown.

After imposing the most onerous restrictions in Britain's
peacetime history, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the
reopening was a "major step" towards freedom but urged people to
behave responsibly as the coronavirus was still a threat.

Some folk lined up at bars after midnight or in the morning
to raise a pint with fellow revellers.

"It feels good to be back," Matthew McGuinness, a
21-year-old student told Reuters in the large garden of
Wetherspoon's Fox on the Hill pub in south London. "We planned
it last night to come here for a breakfast, get a drink."

"I would not want to be working behind the bar here tonight.
It's gonna be ridiculous," he said.

Getting people spending again is crucial for Britain's
recovery after official data showed that 2020 was the worst year
for its economy in more than three centuries with a 9.8% decline
in gross domestic product.

As the sun rose, dozens of people queued up outside Primark
in English cities such as Birmingham and outside JD
Sports on Oxford Street in London, undeterred by the
unseasonably cold weather.

The John Lewis department store chain said glassware and
gifts had been the most popular items as shoppers prepared to
host friends and families once again. In the run up to the
reopening, John Lewis had also seen a more than 200% jump in
sales of dresses.

At the Thorpe Park adventure site near London, visitors ran
to the rides as it reopened. Drinkers in pub gardens said they
had worn their thermals to be able withstand the cold.

'SO EXCITED'

In north London, Maggie Grieve reopened the Beaucatcher
hairdresser salon to work through the long list of bookings.

"I'm so excited to see my clients: to see how they are and
give them that feeling that they get from having had their hair
done," Maggie Grieve, who manages Beaucatcher hairdressers in
north London, told Reuters.

"Today is going to feel like every hairdresser's birthday.
The well-wishers have already come in: emails, texts, WhatsApps,
even neighbours in the street wishing luck and joy. It feels
great. Now can't wait to get to the pub," Grieve said.

Hundreds of thousands of businesses have been closed since
early January when England entered a third lockdown to stem
surging infections driven by the "Kent" variant of the virus.
The UK has the fifth highest death toll in the world.

But a fast vaccination campaign that has delivered a first
shot to well over half of adults has helped to cut deaths by
more than 95% and cases by over 90% from the January peak,
paving the way for a staggered reopening.

"I urge everyone to continue to behave responsibly and
remember 'hands, face, space and fresh air' to suppress COVID as
we push on with our vaccination programme," Johnson said.

Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are reopening at a
different pace, determined by their governments. Non-essential
stores, such as home and fashion chains, will reopen in Wales as
well as England on Monday, although those in Scotland need to
wait until April 26.

Pubs and restaurants will only be able to serve outdoors
from Monday, with indoor service not allowed until May 17 at the
earliest.
($1 = 0.7296 pounds)
(Writing by Paul Sandle, James Davey and Guy Faulconbridge;
additional reporting by Andrew Boyers in Warwick and Kate Holton
in London. Editing by Jane Merriman and Raissa Kasolowsky)

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UPDATE 1-Primark raises full year outlook after sales top expectations

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