The biggest train strikes in over 30 years have caused mass disruption across the country and, although resilient KBB retailers report that the rail chaos had little effect on business, the action has raised concerns it could further dampen consumer confidence.
In an anonymous poll, members of the kbbreview100, our trusted group of independent KBB retailers suggested that, though the strikes had not taken a direct toll on their business, the disruption could hurt consumer confidence. “The strikes form part of the general perception that the country is in a mess,” the retailer said. “On this basis, they will contribute to a fall-off in consumer confidence.”
Another retailer agreed saying that, while business wasn’t affected this week, the fallout of the rail strikes – which could continue throughout the year – could have a serious knock-on effect on the future. “It’s another pressure adding to the current economic situation,” they said. “I think it will add to an already increasing problem.”
While the poll revealed no KBB retailers were forced to close their showrooms or directly lost work due to clients either missing or cancelling appointments, 12% reported a drop in footfall which they linked directly to the strikes.
The majority of the retailers said that their staff do not rely on public transport, while 25% of those polled said that under a half of their staff use trains or buses to commute.
Many retailers rely on cars to get to the showroom, especially those who have destination showrooms out of town. However, some say they cannot rely on public transport in normal circumstances due to poor train links, so they are forced to commute via car.