UK Fashion Retailers Hit By Bad Weather

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Designer womenswear retailer The Editeur hit by torrential downpours this summer.

With the Olympics in full swing, we had always hoped that 2012 would be a year for record breaking. However, despite our plethora of gold medals, UK records were being broken long before Danny Boyle’s opening ceremony got underway. In the July of this year it was announced that the UK economy had contracted by 0.7% between April and June, leading Britain into its longest double-dip recession for 50 years. As if spirits hadn’t been dampened enough, at the same time, in what some may call an act of extreme pathetic fallacy, June was declared the wettest the UK has seen since records began in 1910.

The terrible weather has not only been disappointing for those who were dreaming of a cheap and cheerful UK getaway, but for independent businesses the combination of a weak economy and a wet summer has been hugely detrimental to sales of summer clothing, and in some cases has even damaged physical shops.

The Editeur, an independent boutique located within the walls of the historic city of Chester, has been the weather’s latest victim. Chester saw torrential downpours a few weeks back, with the popular Chester races being called off mid-afternoon thanks to a waterlogged track. However, for The Editeur, there was much more at stake than a cancelled day at the races.

The owners of the shop, Annabel Mount-Kirk and Adam Williams, were greeted with every shop holder’s worst nightmare. Their designer clothes boutique, which is located in a Grade II listed building, had been flooded. Water had leaked through the ceiling, damaging both the shop itself and the stock within it. The shop will be shut had to shut whilst the owners and staff attempted a clean-up operation, and repairs will have to be done in order to fix the physical damage. The business is a relatively new one, and setbacks like these will be hugely frustrating both in terms or money and time lost.

Just when the Editeur were getting back on track, after sorting through flood damaged stock, organising repair work; just less than two weeks later Chester saw more torrential downpours. This afternoon saw the main high street was caught in a heavy rain storm, causing the Editeur boutique to be flooded yet again. Staff rushed to the rescue to try and stop the water gushing in through the ceiling onto the shop floor and designer womenswear stock. This is a huge setback for the owners of the boutique, as having to close the shop again is losing them time and money.

The Editeur are just one example of a local business suffering because of the weather and economy. The British Independent Retailers Associations announced that there was a 4.69% fall in sales at independent clothing and footwear shops between April and June this year. Thanks to the weather we have seen many temporary shop closures this year, but increasingly statistics like these are forcing independent retailers to shut up shop for good. For now, all we can do is hope for a change in the climate.

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Emily Tearle
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