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The hotter the better for Brighton and Hove businesses
Across the city, shop owners, restaurateurs, bar operators and attractions were hoping to make hay while the sun shines. But they said that the good weather must continue to the end of the school holidays if businesses are to claw back losses.
Bosses said seasonal jobs had slumped as they are taking on fewer part-time and casual staff. Many shopkeepers were hoping to capitalise on an exodus from London, as residents escaped the Olympic crowds.
Network Rail insisted the heat would not cause problems to the tracks as the electrified third rail would prevent the problems that have disrupted the overhead cables on lines serving the Olympic Park in London yesterday (July 25).
But a spokesman said there may be some delays as trains are required to go slower in hot temperatures.
Frazer Smith, owner of the Bedazzle souvenir shop in Kings Road Arches, has worked on the seafront for seven years. He said “This is the worst year this beach has ever seen”.
His shop still has a full stock room after months of solid rain when he would usually have had to put in another order by this point in the season.
As a shop that shows its stock predominantly outside, the good weather is crucial for business. If the weather is particularly bad his shop is forced to close, which has been the case for around 60 days this year so far.
Mr Smith remains hopeful, however, that the current good weather will make a big difference to his business, saying “the hotter, the better”. He also expects the upcoming Olympic Games to bring more business to the Sussex coast.
“People will want to get out of London,” he said.
At The Brighton Seafood and Oyster Bar in Kings Road Arches, manager Cliff Faires said this was the first year they have ever taken days off in July.
He said “We are up 60 to 70% on last weekend. Rainy weather means one delivery every other day, good weather means two deliveries per day.
"I took on a student and hoped to give him seven days a week from the start of June but only now has this become possible – he was just working weekends before. I don’t think business will recover this year.”
At the Fortune of War pub on the seafront, assistant manager Aaron Kemp said the weather has made a huge difference.
He said: “This Monday and Tuesday were possibly the best Monday and Tuesday we have had in the last three years. It looks set to get busier and busier.
"Evenings have got busier too; people are on the beach all day. Previously we were shutting around 8pm but now we are open until around 1am. It’s been a record breaking week this year compared to last year.
“I’m hoping the Olympics will bring more business to Brighton. It doesn’t take long to get here. Hopefully this will help sales if the weather stays good.
"We took on lots of staff in the spring, but no new staff for summer – we’re just giving current staff more shifts.”
At the Lodestar café, manager Mark Gillespie said: “This weekend changed sales drastically. We are selling hundreds more ice-creams than usual.
"People have been queueing around the block and sales are up a hundred-fold. We’re now taking enough money to keep us going. This is what summer is meant to be like”.
At the World Famous Brighton Rock Shop, manager Colin Burt said: “It’s been an incredible week. Sales have gone through the roof. In the seven weeks of summer we expect to sell 12,000 sticks of rock.”
It seems that weather forecasters also have a large part to play in how seasonal businesses fare over the summer.
Mr Burt said: “Forecasters are 99% responsible for people’s holiday or weekend getaway plans and have a lot to answer for. We had been down 8% on expected summer sales up until this weekend, when it shot up with the good weather.
"Everything’s picking up. London is going to come to Brighton in the next week.”