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Football is testing my nerves and my store

Louise Shiangkwang

Just 15 weeks have passed since I opened the doors on my new boutique, Me Me, and it’s been a steep learning curve on all fronts - including how major sporting events can affect trade.

Just 15 weeks have passed since I opened the doors on my new boutique, Me Me, and it’s been a steep learning curve on all fronts - including how major sporting events can affect trade.

The World Cup has given me my first taste of how big games slow retail and, when I saw the end-of-day figures after the opening match and England’s first game on Saturday June 12, the paranoia set in.

Surely my core customers weren’t all rushing down the beer aisles of Tesco in a race to get home and crack open their first can before the game started? No, of course not - I’ve researched my customer well, and

she’s more the glass-of-wine-with-the-girls type than pint-in-the-local. But where does everyone go? They’re not out shopping, as the streets were dead.

I have to admit, I’m not averse to a good football match myself though, and I was crossing my fingers that a positive result for England could have raised spirits and brought a much-needed wave of pride and spending.

But now we’re out of the World Cup, will everything go back to normal?

Probably not, given the Wimbledon tennis finals this weekend. But it’s not all bad. I’ve had a number of customers looking for suitable outfits for visits to Centre Court, not to mention the races.

Either way, I’m not going to let a dip in takings dampen my spirits. The feedback from the locals has been

tremendous and I have new customers coming in every day and have started to see many returning. I hope that, having ticked all the business plan boxes through good buying, customer service and locality, I’ll pull through the ups and downs of opening a new business and learn to lower my expectations during big sporting events.

Louise Shiangkwang is the owner of womenswear boutique Me Me in Hove, East Sussex

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