Our front page story generated quite a bit of interest this week and, I was actually quite surprised at the number of people who came out in support of Beckworth's decision to close over the Jubilee Bank holiday Monday and Tuesday.
Bank Holidays are like the Holy Grail for the DIY and garden industry - especially when accompanied by a spot of sunshine - but maybe in this instance, Beckworth has got it right. With street parties and celebrations planned up and down the country, will the nation really have a burning desire to head out and hit the high street or nearest retail park? In fact, will anyone be in a fit state to drive, if alcohol promotions in supermarkets are anything to go by?
Of course, there will still always be those who would rather use the extra time off work to spruce up the garden or give the spare bedroom a lick of paint, and those, of course, are the customers retailers are hoping to make the most of during the period. But will they be out in force on the Monday and Tuesday and make the cost of opening worthwhile?
To trade or not to trade - it's a tough call, and one Beckworth had to make early on in the year to give customers and staff plenty of notice, so it will be interesting to see if it pays off for the business. While 50% of our online readers were appalled by the idea of closing on a Bank Holiday in a key trading season, nearly 40% took the view that their customers will be too busy celebrating to think about shopping. And let's face it, there is still the weekend leading up to the Bank Holiday and the half-term holiday after, so retailers are likely to cash in either way.
The refreshing thing about the story is the fact that the centre was keen to reward staff with the days off to celebrate a historic British event with their friends and family, rather leaving them stuck on a shopfloor on the off chance that someone decides to pop in for a bag of compost or a hanging basket. This morale booster will no doubt pay dividends to the employer in the future and Beckworth, which trades seven days a week, is likely to welcome flexibility when it comes to staff hours.
At a time when many are still struggling and employees are often being worked harder for less, maybe a couple of days off to celebrate with the rest of the UK is just what the industry needs.
Whether you're trading or not, here's hoping for a spell of good weather and a great Jubilee Bank Holiday for all.
24 May 2012 | 12:41 |