Independents have been hit by a decline in footfall and loss of sales, as areas of the UK continue to suffer from flooding and severe weather conditions.
In Lincolnshire hundreds of homes were evacuated after parts of the county were deluged with two months’ worth of rainfall in two days last week.
“Trade has been really bad,” agreed Alice Darby, store manager of designer womenswear independent Agatha in Lincoln. “Last year it was the heatwave and the snow, [which also affected us] because people couldn’t get out to us. At the moment it seems that you can’t judge what’s coming around the corner weather-wise or high street-wise.”
Across the UK, Springboard reported that total footfall was down 5.1% year on year for the week to 15 June as torrential rain led to an average daily footfall decline of 8.1% year on year.
Nottinghamshire was also badly affected by the unseasonal rain, where the towns of Southwell, Newark and Gedling suffered flooding.
Adrian Sawyer, retail assistant at premium independent Real Clothing in Southwell, said: “Without a doubt we’ve seen a drop in footfall. People just don’t want to come out. The town is generally quiet. You just have to react to what faces you, although it’s hard to know what the long-term impacts will be.”
In Worcester the River Severn flooded the immediate surrounding area, affecting access to the town.
“We’ve seen a drop in footfall and sales,” said Kate Oliver, store manager of menswear independent Pockets in Worcester.
“One of the roads into Worcester and into the store will be impassable soon, but even those that have managed to make it in are sticking just to the main high streets.”
The Met Office has issued further severe weather warnings for thunderstorms and flooding this week across the south-east, Midlands and north of England.