Strike day gloom brings a boom in shopping to Marlborough
Marlborough enjoyed a boom in trade like shopping centres round the country yesterday (Wednesday) when thousands of Wiltshire public sector workers staged a one-day strike in their fight for fairer pensions.
And it was a boom that was expected, as far as Andy Davies (pictured), ebullient manager of Marlborough’s Waitrose store, was concerned, despite his fear that 30 per cent of his part-time partners might not come to work because their children were at home from closed local schools.
But he doesn’t know as yet whether it was additional money for Christmas that was being spent or the same amount being expended early.
And the same pre-Christmas spending spree was also felt by optician Paul Shimel, president of Marlborough Chamber of Commerce, who has the Specsavers franchise, and is asking other retailers how they fared.
“We had a very good day with people really spending money,” he told Marlborough News Online. “And our bookings for eye tests just shot up and up.
“We all thought that any spending in our store would come to an end last week. But now I’m booked up from 9am to 7pm for Friday. Yesterday was a really positive event, a real buzz.”
The strike day surge was certainly expected at Waitrose and similar supermarkets.
“We planned for it,” said Mr Davies. “And we did a double digit increase on the same day last week. It was a very busy day that produced a real lift in Christmas stock products that gave everything a real buzz.”
It was a real challenge for the store, where 30 per cent of the 250 mainly casual staff might not have been able to work if they had children to care for.
“But not one of them failed to come in. It was a real team effort. We knew that it was clearly a day which people would use to go shopping – and a lot of them brought their children with them.”
“I am really pleased with the increase in trade, but I am not sure yet whether it was just pushing money around that would be spent anyway. We will have to wait and see.”