Shop Local: Barking shop owner calls on community to support local businesses and jobs
PUBLISHED: 10:00 21 October 2020 | UPDATED: 14:34 23 October 2020
A Barking shop owner has called on the community to support local trade and jobs as businesses feel the impact of the pandemic.
Clothing retailer Cut Label, which was opened by Barking man Haroon Saeed and his brother Irfan seven years ago, found trade was initially solid after reopening from lockdown, but has steadily fallen away since.
“When we opened after the lockdown, for two months it was all right but it’s gradually gone down again - there has been a massive drop,” Mr Saeed said.
“There’s no footfall like before, probably half what it was before.
“I think it’s because people are worried about their jobs and more people are going to online.”
Cut Label, located in Vicarage Field Shopping Centre with its shopfront in Ripple Road, sells high end and designer brands in fashion, shoes and accessories at affordable prices.
It doesn’t have a website, but Mr Saeed said they were now looking into getting one.
During lockdown, the business received government support - including funds, a repayable loan and the furlough scheme - as well as rates relief.
While that support helped, this is the worst period for trading Mr Saeed has experienced.
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“It’s a lot different - last year to this year, it’s probably half,” he said.
“This has been the hardest (period), we’ve never seen anything like this before.”
And with ongoing costs including rent, overheads and getting new stock in, Mr Saeed admitted the business won’t cope for much longer if nothing changes.
They “definitely expect” a boost to trade from next month as people start doing their Christmas shopping, but “it all depends on government policies”, he added.
The move to Tier 2 Covid-19 restrictions was expected to reduce footfall further.
None of the six employees in Barking have lost their jobs - and Mr Saeed even hopes to open another store in Ilford soon.
However, they were forced to close their other store in Dalston recently, with three employees made redundant.
“People have to come to the store, and it helps out the local trade as well,” Mr Saeed said.
“We need their support.”
Customers who spend more than £10 will recieve a 10pc discount on their purchase.
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