Retailers throughout the UK are today assessing the damage caused to their businesses after a fourth night of violence on the country’s streets last night.
Manchester and the West Midlands were the main hotspots for violence and looting, with notable disturbances including stores in the north-west city’s Arndale Centre being broken into and a second night of trouble around Birmingham’s Bullring shopping district.
A Miss Selfridge store on Manchester’s Market Street, the thoroughfare between the city’s main bus and tram stop in Piccadilly Gardens and its popular shopping and leisure quarter, was a major casualty and is unlikely to open any time soon after it was set on fire by rampaging thugs.
While civil unrest and rioting had primarily occurred in London on Saturday, Sunday and Monday nights, trouble travelled north yesterday evening as Wolverhampton, West Bromwich, Salford and Nottingham also experienced scenes of violence and confrontations between police and local communities.
There were too many stores affected by last night’s disturbances for all of them to be listed, but they include Foot Asylum in Manchester’s Arndale Centre which was looted by a group of youngsters, Marks & Spencer in Birmingham which had its windows smashed and independent stores in West Brom which were raided.
A House of Fraser in Birmingham was also broken into and looted as criminals seized an opportunity to steal various products such as electrical goods, jewellery and clothes.
Meanwhile Oasis lead singer Liam Gallagher’s new fashion boutique Pretty Green, which only opened in Manchester’s Kings Street last December, lost a considerable amount of stock after thieves forced their way into the unit.
A spokesperson for the Arndale Centre told Retail Gazette that it was “business as usual” this morning, highlighting the determined spirit shown by many retailers in the wake of the riots.
However, local authorities have today been calling on governmental help for businesses caught up in the disturbances.
Pat Karney, city centre spokesperson for Manchester City Council, said: “People in Manchester are very angry about what has happened in our city centre and it is time for us to stand together and say we will not tolerate this kind of behaviour.
“We have a very clear message for the criminal thugs who tried to destroy our city centre. You will not beat us. You will not win. Manchester is open for business as usual.
“We are also asking for the government to act to support the businesses in the cities which have been affected. They need urgent help, particularly in these difficult economic times, to ensure they will not be broken by these criminal hoodlums.”