CHRISTMAS shoppers are being reminded that they can still support local independent retailers during lockdown.

The current Covid restrictions – which end on Wednesday, December 2 – ban non-essential retailers from opening fully, but shops are allowed to offer customer collections.

Paul Angel, of Westbourne Bookshop, said: “We’re taking orders by email and phone and sometimes by people stopping me in the street.”

The shop, which has several deliveries a week, is delivering books locally and posting them to addresses further afield, as well as allowing people to collect orders at the door.

Mr Angel said many customers were shopping locally rather than going to Amazon, even though the digital giant could offer large discounts on popular titles as “loss leaders”.

“They’ve been selling some titles for about the same as we pay for it, he said.

“But we’re starting to see people come back to us because they realise they don’t save a lot from going to Amazon and don’t get the benefits of supporting local business.

Mr Angel – whose family also owns Gullivers Bookshop and Square Records in Wimborne – said of the lockdown: “It’s very different from last time. We couldn’t offer click and collect last time.”

Many retailers have been frustrated that big chains such as supermarkets are allowed to sell “non-essential” items such as homeware, books, music and DVDs. Government guidelines say they should close off distinct areas such as separate floors devoted to non-essentials, but do not prohibit their sale.

Alan Rowett, who owns the Vault record shops in Bournemouth and Christchurch, said: “The government is quite happy for them to carry on selling this kind of thing.”

He is taking orders by phone and email and handing them to customers at the door.

This Christmas’s music releases on physical formats include packages by AC/DC, Pink Floyd, Iron Maiden, U2 and Jimi Hendrix. “People who buy records are the real hardcore fans. They want a physical product,” said Mr Rowett.

“We’re a very niche shop. We might have four or five people in the shop at any time. You get a supermarket with 500-600 people in it.”

He said his business had received a government grant of £1,334 for the lockdown but said: “I would have taken four or five times as much if the doors were actually open.”

He fears retailers will not be able to make up for the trade they have lost. “We’ll have three weeks until Christmas. Is everyone going to be happy to come out on December 2 and go shopping?” he added.