Roaring trade on strike day

Shops and cafes across the Spen Valley enjoyed a bumper day last week thanks to the public sector strike.

Last Wednesday members of public sector unions took to the picket line in a fight over their pensions. While some workers manned the lines others used the free time to do some Christmas shopping.

Sharon Barker, manager of Store Twenty One in Heckmondwike, said the store was noticeably busier than normal.

She said: “Wednesday is usually our quietest day and I get staff in to accommodate that but we were busy all day.

“There were queues at the tills and takings were up quite considerably but that’s what we like!”

In Cleckheaton, traders had a mixed day with some seeing sales increase, while others reported a disappointing day.

Viv Laycock, who owns the Purple Fashion Boutique and the market cafe, said: “I cannot speak for anyone else but I didn’t have a good day at Purple, but the cafe did okay.”

Most traders noticed far more children shopping with their parents, as school were forced to close.

Penny Hudson, owner of the Cabbage Patch, said: “It was lovely to see new faces in the town, with parents bringing their children who were not in school. It gave them the opportunity to look around Cleckheaton.”

David Bagshaw, co-owner of Bookworms, said: “We were still busy on the day and we did better last week than we did this Wednesday. There were lots of children coming in with their parents.”

Jennifer Chapman, assistant manager of Cheapside, added: “It was busier than a normal Wednesday and we loved it.”

Matthew Crowther, who runs Matthew’s Coffee Shop in Market Street, Cleckheaton, said: “It was non-stop – busy all day.

“It was a mix of both old and new faces and the takings were up 50 per cent on an average Wednesday.

“Nobody was talking about the strikes but it had to be much more then a coincidence. People had time on their hands and wanted to kill some time.”

At the Junction 27 shopping park, shops reported soaring sales.

Ikea enjoyed sales that were a massive £500,000 up on last year.

Others saw sales up by 2,000 per cent. Shopping park manager of Denis Copeland said: “Bearing in mind that some stores only opened for four hours last year because we were under snow, it was never going to be a true like-for-like figure,” he said.

“I think some of the people on strike, and others who had taken the day off because their children were off school, decided to get their weekend shopping done on the Wednesday.

“The sales were probably exactly the same as a Saturday at this time of year.”