Watford shoppers welcomed the return of non-essential shops last week with a spending spree, figures suggest.

As coronavirus restrictions eased many retailers have been allowed to open their doors for the first time since early January.

The banking firm Revolut analysed the data of 5,000 of its customers in Watford between April 12 and 18, comparing it to the average weekly spend in February 2020, before lockdown started.

Watford shoppers spent 113 per cent more on average last week than normal, according to their data – with T K Maxx the most popular shop.

The first day of trading saw even higher levels of spending, with 310 per cent more splurged than the average Monday in February of last year.

Atria Watford, the town’s indoor shopping centre, was particularly busy as lockdown eased, with 90 per cent of its stores having reopened for the first day.

Read more - Long queues form outside Primark as shoppers return to town centre

The shopping centre said it had an “extremely positive” week of visitors returning, with initial reports showing strong sales across fashion, technology, and gifts.

Vicki Costello, centre director, said: “Footfall has been encouraging and we expect this to continue to grow over the coming weeks.

“We have also been pleased and thankful to our shoppers for observing social distancing and wearing face coverings while in the centre. We continue to carefully manage the number of shoppers allowed in the centre at any one time and ensure our cleaning regimes resume to match the increased footfall. 

“Over the next few weeks, we will finalise our preparations for the next phase of openings, which will see leisure and indoor dining return to Atria Watford.”

Watford's MP Dean Russell recently visited the shopping centre where he encourgaed people to shop local.

In a twitter video, he said: "Please come to Watford town centre, help our High Street, help Atria Watford get some more shopping done."

Meanwhile, spending in Watford pubs was 37 per cent down on February last year.

However, the Revolut data suggests pub-goers spent much more than usual when buying rounds.

The average transaction in pubs in the area was £19.12 last week – up 73 per cent on the typical spend across an average week before the pandemic, of £11.05.

Watford drinkers spent more than the average round across England last week, of £16.03.

Hospitality data specialists at CGA said operational constraints and the unpredictable British weather mean three in four venues in England are still closed.

Karl Chessell, CGA’s business unit director, added: "While some may open over the next few weeks, we will have to wait another four weeks until it is feasible for many hospitality venues to reopen again.

"Until then, operators deserve support from local authorities to make the most of outdoor trading space – not to mention some sunshine.”