Bricks-and-mortar indies and multiple retailers have borne the brunt of the wintry weather this week, with many customers choosing to shop online rather than brave the freeze.
Snow blizzards across the country led to a drop in footfall in what was billed as week one of the peak festive trading period.
Peter McConway, manager of Newcastle premium indie Jules B, said: “No one wants to come in and try clothes on if it’s cold. Footfall has been right down this week and sales have been down on last year. But where we are losing sales in-store they have picked up on the internet.”
Mark Bage, owner of York-based premium indie Sarah Coggles, said: “Footfall is down, but turnover seems to be the same because higher-priced items seem to be selling - boots and coats and that type of thing.”
Despite Ugg boots, hoodies and coats selling well, Nicola Scott, owner of contemporary womenswear indie Bunty & Co in Pocklington, East Yorkshire, said she was concerned the snow would continue to affect sales.
Scott said: “The four weeks in the run-up to Christmas is usually the busiest time of the year, so it’s a bit worrying that we might not be able to hit targets.”
Martin Schneider, owner of Leeds young fashion indie Accent Clothing, said: “The snow has killed us. The buses and trains are stopping at 2pm today [Wednesday] and we are sending some staff home early. I’m hoping it’s just the one day that it’s going to be this bad. It’ll cost us a few thousand pounds.”
Gary Lever, co-owner of young fashion indie Duo Menswear in Gourock, near Glasgow, said he was not panicking about festive turnover. He added: “There is time to make up the sales and footfall, but we’ll be suffering a bit until it clears up. It’s treacherous out there. I don’t think shopping will be at the forefront of people’s minds.”
Ken Bartle, chief executive of footwear chain Jones Bootmaker, said Tuesday - when the snowfall hit the whole country - had been “disastrous”. He added: “Due to the snow people couldn’t get into our stores in Bluewater and Bromley.”