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Tuesday, 11 December, 2001, 10:01 GMT
Euros: Where can you spend them?
Camden Lock market
Can you spend Euros at Camden Lock Market?
From 1 January, euro coins and notes will be rolled out in 12 European countries. But what impact will this have in the UK? BBC News Online's Sarah Toyne finds out which outlets will accept euros this side of the channel and visits Camden Lock market, in north London, to find out what market traders think of the euro.

Alex Samson and Wenceslas Maynes are market traders at Camden Lock market, one of the UK and Europe's most popular tourist attractions.

Alex specialises in Bolivian textiles and handicrafts, which he sells from his shop Wanaku in the market.

He has been trading in the market since September 1996.

Alex Samson
Alex Samson with a Bolivian textile

Alex accepts dollars and most foreign currencies at the moment, and he will accept payment in euros from January.

"Oh yes, I'll take the Euro", says Alex.

"I don't think accepting foreign currency makes that much difference in terms of increasing sales."

"If people want to buy something they will probably get pounds, but it is about service and having a sensible attitude in the way you deal with people."

Euro-friendly

Wenceslas Maynes runs a jewellery stall in the central hall of the Lock.

Originally from Barcelona, Wenceslas has lived in London for 11 years, but still buys some of his stock in Spain.

Wenceslas Maynes
Wenceslas Maynes runs a jewellery stall

He says that he could save money by accepting euros from tourists in London and spending them on his visits.

"It will help me. I would like to be able to take euros as it could be easier for them and for me - and cheaper. I will not have to change them, when I go to Barcelona."

Tough times

Camden Town receives millions of tourists each year - many from the continent.

Anita Melling, sales manager of gift shop Chain Reaction
Anita Melling: 'Maybe people are watching their pennies'
But the continuing strength of the pound and the foot-and-mouth crisis has dented the number of visitors.

The events of 11 September have made it worse.

Anita Melling is the sales manager of Chain Reaction, which she calls a "one-stop gift shop".

She thinks that London has become simply too expensive for many tourists.

"We used to get many people from America and Japan. When they do come, they do not spend like they used to - maybe people are watching their pennies."

Many traders feel that being euro-friendly is essential to their businesses.

Barny Crockford
Barny Crockford manages the market

"The strong pound has been affecting the market, " says Barny Crockford, market manager at Camden Lock.

Barny is keen to help the traders with the new currency and is considering setting up a central banking system, which could help the traders deal in euros.

"We will have to be more proactive if we are going to make extra sales," he says.

High-street Euros

Camden market traders are not the only people willing to embrace the euro.

There is a growing list of big retailers, financial companies, public organisations and tourist venues who say that they will accept the new currency.

Euro-friendly businesses
Marks & Spencer
John Lewis
WH Smith
Dorothy Perkins
Top Shop
Evans
Miss Selfridges
Wallis
Tie Rack
Dixons
British Gas
Inland Revenue
Harrods
Body Shop
Selfridges
Virgin
General Accident
British Telecom

Marks & Spencer, Boots, Dixons, Body Shop, Virgin, WH Smith and John Lewis are among a number of retailers who will take the new currency from January.

Asda, Somerfield, Kwik Save, Safeway, and Sainsbury's have introduced trolleys with coin slots that accept euros - and next summer Safeway will become the first supermarket chain to accept euros.

British consumers also have the option of receiving their bills from British Telecom, Orange, BP and General Accident in euros.

Even the Inland Revenue will allow tax to be paid in euros, while BT is working on plans to convert its public phones to accept euro coins.

Tourist venues, such as Madame Tussauds, the Planetarium and even some royal palaces have plans to accept the currency.

Historic Royal Places, a charity which oversees Kensington Place, the Tower of London and the Banqueting house plans to take euros from next Spring.

Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle, however, will not accept euros.

"Euro creep" goes only so far.


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29 Aug 01 | Business
04 Dec 01 | Business
28 Aug 01 | Business
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