Damage from riots could hit £1m
Friday 06 January 2012
Stores which bore the brunt of rampaging mobs during the summer riots
face another two years before they resume trading at previous levels.
Those most severely damaged estimate bills for repairs and ruined stock could rack up to as much as £1 million.
And some say overall losses, including lost sales, are still impossible to quantify - five months after the looting.
Duncan Mundell, owner of Party Superstore which was set ablaze when rioters took to the streets of Clapham, south-west London, on August 8, estimated his personal setback would be between £100,000 and £250,000.
"It's been an absolute nightmare," he said.
"With the place burning down, all my staff out of work and the whole place was completely gutted - it's going to take up to two years to rebuild it.
"Right at the start, it was particularly hard because I had 30 staff working there whose wages I had to continue to pay.
"I also set up a charity (Street Kids Rescue) three years ago to look after disabled, orphaned and abandoned children in south east Asia and quite a large part of that funding come from the business.
"When I saw my store burning, I thought, how am I going to get the money to keep 4,000 children fed?"
The fire caused more than £800,000 worth of damage to the fancy dress and party shop.
Mr Mundell, 61, also lost the larger part of a collection of fancy dress costumes worth £600,000 which he had built up over 25 years.
He estimates total costs will be somewhere in the region of £1 million. Owing to being underinsured, he expects to incur significant personal losses.
"Since the fire I have not had a day off, I think I have worked 16 hours a day," the married father of two added.
"That's the only way you can fight your way back up and recover. There's no point being angry. In life things happen and you have to just accept them.
"It took 20 years to build the business up and it was all destroyed pretty much overnight. Although I have managed to keep some of our customers, we know that we have lost a lot of them."
Trevor Reeves, 56, whose burning furniture store came to symbolise the violence of the London disorder, said his losses at the 144-year-old family business were currently between £50,000 and £100,000.
Furniture is now being stocked at the next-door premises, where House of Reeves originally housed the side of his business which sold beds.
"We are not fully back up and running. The store that was burnt down still doesn't exist," he said.
Restoring the building is expected to take up to two years or longer.
Mr Reeves, a married father-of-two who runs the company with his brother, Graham, said the family had been devastated by the "horrific" destruction but had "pulled together" in a bid to trade over Christmas and through January.
"I'm shattered, my father has come out of retirement and is working with us but we're still quite a way off," he said.
But the firm, which withstood two World Wars, has been buoyed up by new customers who travelled hundreds of miles to its Croydon site to buy goods after being moved by images of the beleaguered store in August.
It is understood it could take up to a year to rebuild the Carpetright store, in Tottenham, north London, which burnt down on the first night of rioting which swept English cities.
"It was demolished and completely gutted," a spokesman said. "It is nowhere near up and running again. It will take a long time to rebuild."
Germanwings captain Patrick Sondenheimer tried to break into locked cockpit door 'with an axe' as plane was descending
Amanda Knox murder conviction: Italian court overturns verdict for US student and Raffaele Sollecito in the killing of Meredith Kercher
Saudi Arabia says it won't rule out building nuclear weapons
The battle for the Middle East's future begins in Yemen as Saudi Arabia jumps into the abyss
#FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
Nigel Farage brands LGBT activists 'filth' and 'scum' and accuses them of scaring away his children after they invade his local pub
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Russia threatens Denmark with nuclear weapons if it tries to join Nato defence shield
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Germanwings plane crash live: Co-pilot Andreas Lubitz wanted to 'do something people would remember him for'
- 1 Finland schools: Subjects scrapped and replaced with 'topics' as country reforms its education system
- 2 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 3 #FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
- 4 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
- 5 Zayn Malik quits One Direction: Hundreds of workers request compassionate leave following band member's exit