Stores in towns and cities around the country are bracing themselves for the possibility of another night of street violence and looting.
Last night rioting spread to more cities throughout the UK, with stores having windows smashed, being set alight and emptied of goods.
In many cases it was little more than location that determined whether a shop was targeted by the gangs or was lucky enough to escape the onslaught. In some cities the centre was worst hit, while in others it was the outskirts that bore the brunt of the attacks.
According to a spokesperson for Lakeland’s Liverpool branch, which is in the Liverpool One shopping centre, the heart of the city has been left unscathed by the rioting.
“We weren’t affected at all,” she told HousewaresLive.net. “The police contained it exceptionally well as far as I can see. It was on the outskirts, in the south, Wavertree and the like.”
She said the store had not yet taken any precautions against the violence but that it was staying in touch with other retailers locally to see what they were doing.
“We’ve got a lot of security in Liverpool One,” she went on. “I just hope it’s the end of it now. Fingers crossed it’ll be okay. But I’m just concerned about the girls getting home.”
In Bristol, the violence was more centralised, which was a relief for the Kitchens cookshop in Whiteladies Road.
“It was nowhere up here at all,” said a spokesperson. “It was in Broadmead, in the centre of Bristol.”
Disruption broke out in areas all over London, including Battersea, home to the La Cuisiniere cookshop – which, according to sales assistant Zoe Silver, was just five minutes away from the centre of the rioting.
The city centre of Birmingham also came under siege, with shopworkers forced to barricade themselves in their stores as hundreds of youths went on the rampage. A House of Fraser employee told the Birmingham Post: “We were locked in the store but could see groups of boys and girls outside smashing shop windows and stealing things.”
Just a few hundred yards away from House of Fraser, the Livsstil cookshop in Minories survived the attacks. But a distraught Ian Thompson, co-owner of the shop, told HousewaresLive.net: “I’ve just had news from the police that [the rioters] will be targeting shops either side of me tonight.”
Many stores across the country will be closing at mid-afternoon today and sending their staff home early. In the capital, more than five times the usual number of police officers will be deployed later today.
Meanwhile, the British Retail Consortium has condemned the rioting, saying community difficulties will not be helped by wrecking shops.
Director general Stephen Robertson, said: “I deplore the violence and property damage inflicted by these criminal actions. I have the greatest sympathy for those who’ve lost businesses, staff whose jobs are now in jeopardy and customers now without local services.
“There may be genuine economic or community relations grievances in these areas but they will not be helped by torching shops.
“Retail is at the heart of thriving communities,” he went on. “Clearly, with high streets under pressure anyway, at least some of the businesses destroyed will not be able to re-establish themselves, causing long-term damage.
“And, at a time when some of London’s most deprived areas are looking forward to a substantial spending boost from visitors to next year’s Olympics, this sends an appalling message to would-be tourists around the world.”