Snow slowdown hits mobile retail


Mobile retailers copped their share of last week’s snow storms’ effects on the British economy, with some stores across the country counting losses of nearly two days’ trading.

Downpours last week saw south-west independent retailer JAG report last Tuesday as its worst trading day in two years.

JAG managing director John George said: “On Monday most of our retail estate was affected, bar the stores in Cornwall, with locations in Southampton and Bristol being worst hit. Despite that, none were closed on Monday but most were late opening.

“On Tuesday our stores in the Cornwall area were heavily hit, with four unable to open. That contributed to Tuesday being our worst trading day in two years.”

Last Tuesday also JAG’s Welsh counterpart Get Connected count around £6,000 less in its tills, although managing director Damian Cole had prepared to lose more.

He said: “We suffered on Tuesday because our stores in Carmarthen, Wales; and Coleford, Gloucester; were closed due to the weather. Overall we found ourselves about £5-6,000 down on a usual day’s trading but I thought it would have been a lot worse.”

Hasnain Saddiqui at Birmingham-based Hastech said he had to close three hours early last Monday and only had six customers all day.

However, Fonehouse managing director Clive Bayley, based in Greater London, said the snow had caused business to be just “slightly” down.

“We were worst hit on Monday where we had four stores closed. We were slightly down overall compared to a usual day but those shops that were open seemed to do very well,” he said.

Intek managing director Manny Hussain said his London stores were also forced to close last Monday but wasn’t convinced that bad weather was solely to blame for slow business last week.

He said: “The snow coincided with the start of a new month and staff do sometimes take their foot off the pedal for a couple of days after busting their gut to meet their targets for the previous month.”

A London-based T-Mobile staffer feared they had lost out on connection opportunities because of last Monday’s closures but said it wouldn’t dramatically effect reaching monthly targets.

The staffer said: “I think London stores were worst hit. On Tuesday we connected a high amount of connections.”

A Carphone Warehouse staffer, also from London, said half the stores in their region were closed last Monday: “Those that were open didn’t have many staff working because they couldn’t make it in due to the terrible conditions on the roads and trains.

“Monday usually isn’t a good sales day, but we did lose some. I’m sure we’ll be able to catch it up later in the month because customers who wanted to shop on that day will come back.”

A Carphone spokesman confirmed: “Just over 100 of our stores were either closed or closed early on Monday due to the adverse weather conditions. A small number of deliveries were delayed. We were back to business as normal as of Tuesday morning.”

A Phones 4U spokeswoman added: “We expected the weather over the past two days to have an impact on our retail estate, and some stores were slightly quieter than normal, however over 97 per cent of our stores continued to trade as normal and only nine out of over 450 deliveries were affected.”