Retailers are determined to start trading again after three nights of violence on the UK’s streets has resulted in huge property damage and high levels of theft.
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) is today calling for Home Secretary Theresa May to issue advice to the plethora of companies wishing to open up their doors to the public again following riots across Britain which escalated to unprecedented levels last night.
Richard Dodd, a spokesperson for the BRC which represents the retail industry, told Retail Gazette that the property damage, goods stolen and lost business due to closures will cost “tens of millions of pounds”, but companies do not want to be beaten by the perpetrators of the chaos.
“We deplore the violence and property damage inflicted on businesses across the country,” he said.
“The impact on retailers will vary but there is a real determination to sweep up and get back to trading.”
Main high streets in Croydon were among those affected by arsonists and looters, but the famous Allders department store remained unscathed.
CEO of the 149-year-old retailer Andrew MacKenzie said that the store is “open as usual” and thanked his company’s 14-man security team which worked throughout the night to avert any major incidents at the site in the North End area of the district.
“We were slightly affected by the troubles last night, but we are not going to let rioters close us down,” he asserted.
“It is a tough year for retail and this is the last thing the industry needs.”
MacKenzie’s thoughts were with the owners of nearby Reeves furniture store, which was completely destroyed in a fire started by around 20:00 BST last night, but this was not an isolated incident.
Other businesses in Croydon, different parts of London and the UK may never recover from damage caused to their buildings by arsonists and looters throughout the evening and into the early hours of today.
Dodd added: “There will be smaller retailers who find it is not viable to re-establish themselves.
“Retailers will go out of business, which is obviously bad news for owners, staff and the communities they serve.”
He added that the BRC will continue to act as “an information liaison” between its members, the Metropolitan Police in London and police forces in other parts of the UK, and will regularly update businesses on any developments throughout the course of the day.
London’s retailers opening up today will be concerned about new attacks on their businesses, but the capital’s Metropolitan Police has confirmed that it has drafted in other forces from the south of England to try and stamp out any further trouble.
A statement from the Met this morning said: “We continue to have the plans and resources in place to respond to any further disorder, deal with normal policing across the city and keep Londoners safe.”