Snowy weather forces shops to close

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

snowhighstreetFootfall on high streets across Britain has been hit by the snowy weather with some independents forced to shut up shop due to the adverse conditions.

As much as 15cm of snow fell in parts of the country during the snowy weather, with severe weather warnings issued for Scotland as well as eastern and southern England.

It is estimated that the cold snap could cost the UK economy more than £6bn, with retailers among the hardest hit along with the restaurant and bar industry. Some retailers in the affected areas were forced to close for a day or more as people struggled to get out of their houses and onto the roads.

Ian Smith, owner of Indigo House, which has two stores on Perth Road in Dundee, said both shops were closed on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday last week. “We weren’t able to get to our businesses,” he said.

High Street retailers such as Next used the cold weather to woo customers to their online stores. The retailer sent customers an email with the tag line “Relax…Why go out in the cold when you can get your shopping online with us?” offering free delivery on all orders placed by the end of the weekend. But not everyone can do that, especially not the smaller and specialist high street stores. This is but something that the big chains can do.

Tamasine Wilson, owner of Blue in Saffron Waldon in Essex, said people were using the snow as “another excuse not to spend money”. She added: “We are a semi-rural area so we have been affected by the weather more than the cities as people have to come in from the villages and find it difficult to get their cars out and onto the roads.”

However, she said last week’s slump was indicative of a general slow down in trade. “It has been a very odd season, the recession has definitely hit us and this is a wealthy area. Customers who used to spend thousands in a season now spend hundreds. All the doom and gloom in the media doesn’t help.”

Pamela Schiffer, owner of the eponymous shop in London’s Primrose Hill, said that while footfall was down last week, the spend from customers who did visit the shop made up for it.

“People aren’t getting into their cars and coming into London because they are worried about driving and parking. As the days go by, it will change as people get used to the snow and feel the need to get out of the house.”

We must also not JUST blamer the weather. People are still not prepared to spend any money (unnecessary) and thus also shops are in problems. Regardless of the governments trying to tell us that the Great Recession is past people still do not believe it and for the great majority it will take a great deal before they will trust that things are getting better.

© 2010