6 FEATURE London Chat By Roger Mills

Footfall falls but London avoids the worst

Footfall in February fell by 2.0%, a significant decline compared to the previous year where it fell by 0.2%. Though in London the figure was slightly more encouraging at 1.4%. The weakest February in five years also marks the fifteenth month of consecutive decline. High Street foot fall fell

by 1.9% and Retail Parks by 0.8%. Shopping Centre footfall declined by 3.4%, a deeper decline than last year’s fall of 0.9%. Analyst Diane Wehr le

commented: “The 2% drop occurred despite the fact that February this year was the hottest on record. However, the record temperatures only occurred in the final week of the month when footfall rose by +2.5%. “The result for London will in part have been due to

Chinese New Year occurring in February this year, but it is actually not an unusual outcome as footfall in Greater London is generally the last to decline and the first to recover due to the diversity of its economy and sheer volume of activity.” Th e B R C ’ s H e l e n

Dickenson said: “Consumers have been cautious in their spending, leading to the biggest drop in February footfall for five years. These figures echo the month’s poor Retail Sales figures, which saw weak growth, particularly in bricks-and-mortar stores. While real incomes have been rising over the last year, the uncertainty surrounding Brexit appears to be driving a needs-not-wants approach to shopping. “Things could get a lot

worse unless the Government is able to avoid a calamitous no deal Brexit. Such a scenario could result in higher costs, higher prices and less choice

for consumers – all of which would further harm struggling retailers. The Government must act to protect both consumers and retailers by ensuring there is no chance of a no deal Brexit.” Well as this is the 12th April

issue she’ll, indeed we’ll all know, by now whether she’s got her wish. (Or maybe not! As I am writing this on the afternoon of the May/Corbyn way forward’ talks I’m making no predictions. They used to say a week was a long time in politics. These days five minutes seems an eternity!) Don’t hold your breath

Helen! ULEZ goes live

London’s new Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) went live this week so it’s probably a good time to remind those who only occasionally need to drive into the are just what’s involved. Basically the new scheme applies to all vehicles entering

The new ULEZ Charges.

the area of central London covered by the exist ing congestion charge zone. New exhaust emission

standards will af fect all vehicles that enter the zone, and those that don’t comply will need to pay a fee. The charge wi l l be

£12.50 for cars, vans and motorcycles and £100 for buses, coaches and lorries. With the congestion charge continuing to operate this means that non compliant light commercials entering the zone on weekdays between 7am and 6pm will pay £24 per day. Drivers unsure of the

implications for them can use TfL’s online checking tool to see if their vehicle meets the ULEZ’s emissions standards. Looking further ahead the

introduction of this ULEZ is set to be followed in two years time by an extension to cover a much larger part of the capital with a new boundary with the South and North Circular Roads.

Not a super trader

Sut t o n t r a d e r A n n a Karetnikova was described as h a v i ng a c a l l o u s disregard’ for children on her conviction recently for working counterfeit Batman and Robin suits. Croydon Crown Cour t

heard that one fancy dress costume contained a sharp piece of wire protruding through the fabric that risked severe eye injury. The plastic packaging on many costumes was unsafe and presented a risk of asphyxiation.

The prosecution followed a

2017 raid on the defendant’s premises which revealed an attic full of counterfeit stock, including 1,200 children’s costumes and more than 100 electrical chargers. Sentencing Karetnikova,

who pleaded guilty, to six months in prison suspended for eighteen months the judge said: “You are an educated woman. To my mind you should have appreciated the dangers of what you were doing. You have a callous disregard for the children who would end up wearing the costumes. “Any right minded member

of the public would find it shocking that a mother of young children could be selling costumes to other parents that could seriously

MARKET TRADER, APRIL 12 - 25, 2019


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