Figures released by the Association of Convenience Stores have shown that London retailers are the hardest hit by parking regulations in the UK, and that their businesses are suffering as a result.
The Voice of Local Shops survey, which polls 1,100 independent retailers in England, Scotland and Wales found that nationally, 40% of convenience store retailers said that a lack of available parking for their customers had a negative effect on their business. However, in London, 71% of retailers believed that their business had been negatively affected by the parking available to their customers. Other major causes of inconvenience for customers according to London retailers include:
• Double yellow lines (63%)
• Lack of availability of off street parking (71%)
• Overzealous parking enforcement (63%)
• On street parking charges (54%)
The survey also found that London retailers have struggled the most in terms of sales over the last three months, with 61% reporting a decrease in sales compared to the national average of 48%.
ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Convenience stores are facing increasing costs in all aspects of their business, but they are also unnecessarily suffering from the environment in which they operate. Government and Local Authorities need to plan for sustainable centres and while consumer habits are changing toward ‘little and often’ purchases, overzealous parking enforcement and a lack of space to park is pushing customers away into out of town supermarkets.
“We are calling for a common sense attitude to parking, and believe that customers should be able to pop into their local shop to pick up essential groceries without the fear of being given a fine.”
The results come after Communities and Local Government Minister Eric Pickles has called for motorists to be given a grace period to park outside shops without having to pay.
Pickles said last month: “We are looking at more ways to curb ridiculously high parking charges and over-zealous traffic wardens who pounce on those simply popping into their local shop for a pint of milk or to buy a paper. This overly aggressive stance towards the motorist is not good for the high street.”