Industrial action planned over the next few weeks by workers of the London Underground could severely affect retail sales in the capital, it was argued today.
An analyst at property company CB Richard Ellis (CBRE) warned that the three strikes planned between June 27th and July 1st 2011 could cost London retailers as much as £80 million.
The first strike being conducted by the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union (RMT) occurred last night between 21:00 BST and 03:00 BST, with three more disruptions due on June 27th, June 29th and July 1st.
These actions are being conducted by the RMT over the dismissal of its member Arwyn Thomas due, it claims, to his union activities but what London Underground says was rude and abusive behaviour.
Although the delays experienced by travellers this morning were minimal, the up-coming strikes are likely to severely affect millions of passengers and Head of Consultancy at CBRE Jonathan De Mello warns this will have a big impact on retail.
“CBRE estimates that those trading in central London will collectively lose approximately £80 million worth of trade over the four days of disruption,” De Mello said.
“A major retailer located on Oxford Street such as Primark, for example, takes more than £1 million each day. Everyday costs such as staff wages, rent, and utilities will also still have to be paid by retailers.”
Although Capital Economics Senior Retail Economist Vicky Redwood cautioned in September 2010 that the 24-hour strike that month would have little impact on the overall economy, the number of transport strikes due in the next two weeks may give cause for concern.
Retail spending has decline since last autumn and protests by groups such as UK Uncut targeting several central London retailers in March, will make retailers cautious over trading in the capital this month.
De Mello added: “This is on top of the already tough trading conditions for retailers and at a time when the significant disruption to trade caused by the UK Uncut demonstrations at the end of March is still fresh in the mind.”