Awful weather hit sales, says books trader

LEAN TIME: Richard Kemp.

LEAN TIME: Richard Kemp.

First published in News

THE dire weather over Christmas and New Year has been bad for business, a Moreton trader has said.

Richard Kemp, who opened bookshop Christmas Birds and Books last October in the former pop-up shop in Old Market Way, said the weather had stopped many customers from calling in.

Mr Kemp, of Shiptonunder- Wychwood, said his new business had struggled to pick up since Christmas Eve – traditionally one of the busiest days of the year for bookshops.

On New Year’s Day he did not have a single customer.

“Just before Christmas it started pouring with rain,”

he said. “We went from being busy in the run-up to Christmas to being silent on Christmas Eve. People just weren’t going out. I think people think Gloucestershire is under water because you keep getting these images on the national news and people are feeling a bit anxious about coming.

“I spent Christmas Eve outside Budgens saying to people there’s a new bookshop.

Everyone just said in this weather, they wouldn’t walk down the High Street. They were coming to do their necessary shopping and just going home again. We didn’t get a single person on New Year ’s Day and traditionally that’s a busy day for bookshops.”

Mr Kemp, who first opened a bookshop in Ruislip, London, more than a year ago with his sister Jackie, said he hoped things would pick up again.

“Being in what was the pop-up shop, it’s taken a lot for people to be convinced that we’re permanent,” he said. “People are genuinely excited a bookshop is back.”

Kit Havelock-Davies, chairman of the Moreton Business Association, said he sympathised with the situation.

“It does depend on the type of business but I’m sure the weather’s had a bit of an impact,” he said. “It stops the impulse trips.

“I really hope that Mr Kemp can be successful because we lost our bookshop so it’s really nice to have one back in its place.”

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