The UK’s major supermarket operators have remained resilient following three days of riots that have led to a number of shops being burnt down and looted.
Aldi, whose Tottenham store was burnt down by the rioters, expressed relief this morning (9 August) that nobody was harmed when the store was attacked.
“Most importantly, nobody was inside the store when it was on fire. The building sustained significant damage and we are now working with the emergency services to clarify when we can safely enter the building. We will then be in a position to determine our plans for the store,” the discounter said.
Staff from the store are being redeployed to work in other local Aldi stores.
Tesco, meanwhile, confirmed that 26 of its stores had experienced “varying degrees of damage”, but that all bar one, in Liverpool, have been re-opened.
A spokesperson told just-food that the company has been “pretty impressed with how staff are getting on with things”.
Elsewhere, Sainsbury’s said 16 stores experienced “serious incidents during the disturbances last night”. The spokesperson said that all of these stores have now reopened except for three of its convenience outlets, which remain closed and “will reopen as soon as possible”.
Asda said that all of its stores, aside from one in Tottenham, are continuing to trade. A spokesperson confirmed to just-food that the affected store is only closed as access to the outlet is currently blocked.
Morrisons said that four stores have been affected and that it’s had a “bit of damage at those stores and looting”, but that they’re all open and working this morning, as normal.
Upmarket retailer Waitrose said that it closed a few stores early on advice from police but that no serious damage had taken place.
Industry body The British Retail Consortium said that it was seeking “urgent reassurances” that a range of “critical issues thrown up by escalating lawlessness on the streets of London and other UK cities are being addressed”.
It called for “intelligence-led information to help [retailers] protect their properties” and said it wanted “reassurances those responsible for vandalism and theft will be suitably punished.”
“The shocking levels of lawlessness breaking out across the UK are hitting the heart of our communities. The police have shown great courage in facing the vandals but it is imperative retailers know that resources and plans are in place to prevent any repeat of this trouble,” said BRC director general Stephen Robertson.
“Targeting local shops as an expression of anger and frustration is mindless. These criminal acts destroy community resources, hurting local businesses and threatening people’s jobs. Staff are being intimidated and traumatised. Those responsible must be prosecuted and punished. Retailers and their staff are particularly vulnerable and need protecting.”
With violence expected to continue into a fourth night, Sainsbury’s echoed the sentiment of all of the retailers. “We are assessing the situation on an hour by hour basis as the safety of our customers and store colleagues is paramount,” a spokesperson said. “We will continue to take advice from police and other authorities throughout the day.”