Many independents have been forced to shut up shop this week as Storm Ciara battered across the UK and Ireland.
In the north-west of England, hundreds of homes were evacuated after areas including Whalley, Blackpool and York were deluged with flash floods.
“I’ve lived here for 17 years and have never seen a storm that bad”, Ricky Albon, sales assistant at outdoor clothing store Hawkshead in Grasmere, Ambleside, told Drapers. “We were forced to close the store on Sunday because staff weren’t able to get in due to the heavy floods. Luckily the store didn’t get flooded because we put the floodgates on, but people haven’t been able to visit the store [on Monday] because all the surrounding roads have been closed.”
One independent in Appleby-in-Westmorland in the Eden district of Cumbria, said: “I came down to the store very early on Sunday morning because the siren went off, warning us that we were going to be flooded. We couldn’t get down to the store on Monday because the bridge was closed.
“It has affected footfall, as people can’t get into the town.”
Some store owners were unable to visit trade shows Pure and Scoop in London over the weekend, because of train delays and cancellations.
One clothing shop owner in Cockermouth, Allerdale, said: “We have been flooded twice here before – so we know what it is like. We had a nervous day yesterday thinking we’d be hit again, but thankfully it stopped raining. We’re trying to get to Pure [on Tuesday] to do some buying, but all our trains to London are cancelled.”
One independent based in Edinburgh said: “People have been taking heed of the weather warnings and not coming into the city centre. The trains and buses have all been chaos since Sunday.
“We’ve had customers who were due in for appointments call to say they can’t make it in. I know that locally a lot of places have had their roofs blown off, but we’ve not had any damage.”
One store owner in Dundee said: “We have been impacted as people travel a fair distance to come to us, and they haven’t been able to because the roads are either blocked or flooded. It’s also put people off coming out of their homes and going shopping.”
Another Edinburgh independent said: “Trade has definitely lowered with general customers on the streets just because of the weather. There is snow and lots of wind, and that will have an impact.”