Empty stalls suffer crisis at local Leicester market in post lockdown

by Azim Saiyed

Local market trade is on the decline post-lockdown due to retiring and self-isolating traders in the Leicester market.  

 A high number of stalls can be seen empty and abandoned following the end of lockdown due to self-isolating traders which some fear is portraying the market’s image as a dying institution.

Paul Abbot, 56, a grocer with 34 years of experience in the trade, said: “If it stays like this, it’s going to hurt us.”

The increasing number of corner shops and the dominance of large supermarket chains are also preventing the local market of Leicester from thriving.

A high number of stall can be seen empty and market is also unpopulated

 Mr Abbott, also known as Bud, described it as the “heartbeat of Leicester” but said it is no longer the same as before. 

“Not only the fruit and vegetable trade stalls have been hit by this adversity but the dry goods stalls such as clothing and toys have been badly affected,” said Mr Abbott. 

He believes the availability of the lockdown business grants from the government have resulted in many new local businesses opening which has impacted the market stalls negatively. 

The good fortune of home-grown produce has meant that there have been no consequences of a lack of foreign export trade especially in the current crisis of HGV driver shortages. 

“Trade is slower towards the winter,” said Mr Abbott. The market traders will have to prepare themselves to face this hardship. The issue is magnified with the additional problem of language barriers between traders and customers who come from ethnic minority customers. 

56 years-old Paul Abbott applying his speciality skills in the market trade.

Mr Abbott’s busy work schedule consists of buying and collecting produce from Leicester’s wholesale market in the morning at 4am, then tirelessly selling the produce throughout the day at the local market. 

Bud’s stall contains a variety of produce, more specifically a maximum of up to 70 different types of produce. 

Originally, he started with selling fruit but then due to customer demand also started to sell vegetables as well. 

Mr Abbott said: “We can only pray for better times”, as lockdown has ended but the fight against covid-19 is still very much alive which means the market trade remains unstable and un-secure.