Plea Made to Support Hammersmith Shops as Lockdown Eases

First day of 'non-essential' shopping sees big queues for Primark on King Street

Shoppers return to Hammersmith. Picture: Hammersmith BID

Shoppers keen to explore the stores in Hammersmith after lockdown are being urged to support their local businesses.

In Hammersmith town centre business bosses said it was “busy and bustling” on the first day of the return from lockdown and quite transformed from the quiet streets of just a week ago.

Temporary bike lanes were put in by the council and traffic was not surprisingly higher on the first day of shopping for “non-essential” goods.

And fashion seemed to be a draw – with queues at budget clothing store Primark.

Patricia Bench, director of Hammersmith BID said: “Although it is early days and we will watch closely how today goes, it is clear that so far all is going well and the queues are forming in a safe and well managed fashion.”

She said stores were ready to welcome shoppers back after “meticulous planning and preparation”.

She added: “It is wonderful to see more and more stores opening in Hammersmith and the life and vibrancy returning to the place.”

Hammersmith BID has also joined forces with Hammersmith and Fulham Council, King’s Mall and the Broadway centre to encourage people to support local businesses with their Shop Local Shop Safe campaign.

It includes signs and help with social distancing queue management and is boosting its Privilege Card to promote offers and deals in the town.

Whilst wardrobe revamps and the recent warm weather meant some headed for fashion stores other shops reported good business.

Snappy Snaps in King Street was doing brisk trade with customers getting their passport photos printed – in readiness for getting their passports renewed.

Social distancing meant just three customers are allowed in at a time.

And Howard Heather who owns X Electrical on King Street said: “It’s the same as normal really. It’s just a little more difficult having a limited number of people coming into the shop.”

But the tills rang up sales for a range of goods including a drum machine, video games, a guitar and hi-fi equipment and people have been emailing to ask about stock.

“I think people are bored,” he said.

Shoppers using the new one way system at Westfield in Shepherd's Bush

And Varun Sachdeva who owns Rushes florists in King Street and in Holland Park urged people to support local businesses.

Corporate clients account for the majority of his business. That dropped since lockdown and he is hoping business will pick up so he can open the Hammersmith shop for walk in customers.

He is currently taking orders over the phone.

“I am thinking about opening a couple of hours a day.”

He has furloughed five staff and is worried about meeting rent.

“It would be great if people support local businesses,” he said.

Julia Gregory - Local Democracy Reporter

June 16, 2020