More than 7,500 hours of retail trading lost to riots

More than 7,500 hours of retail trading lost to riots

Retailers already struggling from sluggish consumer spending and a dip in confidence were hit even harder by rioting earlier this month.

Now a new survey by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) has uncovered the true impact the damage done to their businesses.

According to the organisation's figures, retailers in the UK lost more than 7,500 hours of trading as a result of the disturbances.

More than 11,000 members of retail staff were affected by rioting, which began in London and spread to cities including Birmingham and Manchester.

The BRC's figures were based on the experiences of its members, who are together responsible for 27 per cent of UK retail sales.

The full extent of the damage is therefore likely to be much larger.

Of the BRC's members, some 899 stores were affected by the riots, with 102 reporting theft, another 187 reporting damage and seven reporting arson.

The release of the data comes after the Mayor of London announced a £50 million fund to help small businesses hit by the violence and looting in the capital.

Boris Johnson said: "We have always recognised the importance of improving London's town centres and clearly after the destruction caused by the recent events across the city this is a bigger challenge than ever.

"That is why I am allocating £50 million to ensure that these areas are regenerated quickly and transformed into safe, attractive, vibrant and economically successful paces to live, work and invest in."

Speaking to the BBC, Phil McCabe, senior policy advisor at the Forum for Private Business, said the money will be a "welcome respite" for retailers and other forms struggling to get back on their feet and avoid insolvency administration.

"It is particularly welcome given mounting cash flow worries faced by business owners in the aftermath of the riots," he remarked.

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