‘Dear customers, I face ruin, please come back’ is the urgent message from Rumit Shah, co-owner of Cards Galore that BBC News has shared with millions of people today (July 17), highlighting the plight of retailers in many UK cities.
Coinciding with Prime Minister Boris Johnson sending out his message urging people to get back to work to help kickstart the economy, the BBC was quick to respond to an open letter sent to them by Rumit, in which he detailed in no uncertain terms the retailer’s dire situation caused by so few workers not having returned to their offices due to Covid-19.
Film footage, broadcast on TV as well as hosted on the BBC News online site features Rumit (and his uncle Rajesh, who started the retail business which now comprises 60 stores some 30 years ago), reading out the letter they sent to the BBC. (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/business-53434454/coronavirus-dear-customers-i-face-ruin-please-come-back)
“Unfortunately Covid-19 has brought us to our knees. Central London is a ghost town,” said Rumit. “Even though non-essential shops have been allowed to re-open, there is absolutely no trade. We cannot open the vast majority of our shops as it is not economically viable to do so.”
As he points out, there are no office workers, commuters, students around, plus the railway and underground stations where Cards Galore has some outlets are largely devoid of people.
“We understand the practical challenges faced, however, until cities like London are back up on their feet and running, the country will continue to struggle,” stresses Rumit on air.
He shares his belief that homeworking is only efficient for so long. “After a while it is detrimental to society in a lot of ways. Just as it is essential for children to go to school, the same is true for adults.”
Ending on a plea for all retail businesses, restaurants and bars located in the nation’s empty city centres, Rumit said: “We all need customers to survive. Please help.”
Top: Rumit Shah, co-owner of Cards Galore speaking on the BBC today.