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Wednesday, 2 May, 2001, 11:14 GMT 12:14 UK
Business count protest costs
Last year, protesters attacked Carphone Warehouse
Last year, protesters attacked Carphone Warehouse
Businesses in London are getting back to normal following Tuesday's protests, but face possible losses of 10m for this week's disruption.

A tube strike later on Wednesday and on Thursday is expected to compound the trading losses incurred on Tuesday.

Shoppers who stay away may return in droves later in the week, but already this double dose of disruption is expected to hit business hard, according to the London Chambers of Commerce.

It says the tube strike accounts for "the lion's share" of potential losses.

Even the City has been affected by the disruption, with share volumes subdued on Tuesday as many City workers stayed away.

Workers at BMW dealership board it up
Workers at BMW dealership board it up

The British Retail Consortium has said it is too early to calculate the cost to retailers.

It expressed relief that the widely-predicted mayhem did not materialise.

"Retailers enjoyed a close working relationship with the police in the run up and during the May Day protest and are satisfied that attacks on retail property were kept to a minimum by the police action," the BRC said.

Protesters did however smash shopfronts with rocks and other missiles, targeting firms including the Royal Bank of Scotland, Abbey National, Barclays Bank, Coffee Republic and Habitat, and attempted to set fire to a Tesco store.

A supermarket in Victoria was "stormed" by 15 masked activists chanting anti-capitalist slogans and attempts were made to attack the Niketown and John Lewis stores on Oxford Street.

Closing up

Many stores tried to stay open for as long as possible, without jeopardising staff, equipment or the safety of the public.

"This week is going to be a challenging week for London businesses," a spokesman for the Chambers of Commerce said.

"Companies are very inventive at finding ways of getting around this kind of problem," he added.

Companies are very inventive at finding ways of getting around this kind of problem

London Chambers of Commerce
Many businesses are reluctant to divulge what the cost of closing up for the day will be.

It is thought that last year's bill for repairing the damage and paying for the emergency services came to 500,000.

In terms of the actual cost to business, "it is very difficult on a day to day basis to judge which factors are operating," a John Lewis spokesman said on Tuesday.

Annie Walker, from the Regent Street Association, said that many stores had remained open throughout Tuesday morning, so had minimised trading losses.

She said it was difficult to put a price on lost business, but did say that she thought reports of a 20m bill from the protests was "a slight exaggeration".

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