Cash and carries in London are set to open 24 hours a day during the Olympics in a bid to help retailers get around the road closures and transport congestion caused by the Games, according to today’s Independent Retail News.
Booker said last week its four central London branches – at Nine Elms, St Pancras, Acton and Tottenham – would open round the clock, while other branches around the capital would operate extended hours.
Guy Farrant, managing director for UK cash and carry, said: “We will open right the way through the night so customers can get to us when they need us most.”
Bestway, too, confirmed its Hackney depot would stay open 24 hours from 25 July to 14 August, while other key branches close to the Olympic action would extend their hours to 10pm Monday to Friday, as well as opening longer at weekends.
Bestway is issuing a self-help pack to retailers that will detail all branch opening hours and transport information. Other cash and carry operators are also expected to announce longer opening times.
News of the extended hours came as wholesalers warned MPs retailers could face long-term financial difficulties and even closure if they are starved of products to sell.
James Bielby, chief executive at the Federation of Wholesale Distributors (FWD), told the Transport Select Committee: “Small independent businesses depend on their wholesaler as their stockroom, especially for fresh and chilled products, and are set up to expect deliveries up to five times a week. They do not have the cash flow to survive without goods to sell.” FWD members were doing everything they could to ensure their customers were supplied, he added.
The FWD is also concerned that local councils in London take a sensible and pragmatic approach to enforcement. “We hope they will not see this as an opportunity to gain revenue by throwing penalty charge notices around like confetti,” Bielby said.