London Stores Feel Riot’s Sting

Footwear retailers throughout London are trying to recover from riots that had looters trashing U.K. shopping centers this week.

Foot Locker, Adidas, Diesel and Kurt Geiger were among the merchants in London and Manchester that were vandalized. Even those stores not specifically targeted said business in the area screeched to a halt for much of this week.

“Local customers are being more cautious until the norm is restored,” said Giuseppe Bonfiglio, CEO of Harrys of London. “The most significant impact is in the thoughts of people. There is some fear, naturally.”

Bonfiglio noted that business has only been slightly affected so far and his most important concern is making sure store employees in the area are out of harm’s way.

“There are a lot of security guards and police teams on the streets and around the hotels and embassies, as well as the private homes,” he said. Store employees also were able to contact Bonfiglio directly if needed.

For Rockport’s U.K. store, keeping an open line of communication during the riots was key.

Fortunately, the company’s retail location avoided any damage, and GM Matthew O’Connor said real-time monitoring of the situation helped keep customers and employees safe.

“The store staff is in constant contact with profit protection at the Adidas Group head office,” he said. “If there is any disturbance that could potentially harm staff or customers, the store is to be immediately closed.”

An Adidas store in Birmingham was impacted during the riots. A spokesperson for the brand said the company is assessing the damage to the shop and has been closing early other stores in the area.

Nicholas Kirkwood exec Christopher Suarez said the brand’s new store in London’s Mayfair neighborhood was not in the line of fire, but business slowed this week.

By Thursday, however, sales had picked up, thanks to several phone orders from clients.

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