Shop Local: Hampstead shops need strong Christmas rush after 'nightmare November'

Lulu Mitchell at her Hampstead High Street florists. 

Lulu Mitchell at her Hampstead High Street florists. - Credit: Charlotte Lillywhite

One Hampstead trader said the second lockdown "wiped us out completely", while another said she was panicking and in dire need of a strong final week of Christmas shopping.

Karen Briggs, who owns Jewel House Rocks which has a pop-up shop at Hampstead Community Market on Fridays, said the pandemic has been a “huge blow”. 

Having to be shut for the majority of November, she said, had driven her to create an online store on Etsy.

Lulu Mitchell, who owns Lulu’s Flowers on Hampstead High Street, said: “We are panicking, we need the Christmas trade now. It’s been a nightmare.” 

While garden centres have been allowed to stay open, Lulu said her stall has been locked down for over four months this year.

She said: “We’re the same as a takeaway service, but we’re not being treated the same.


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“It has really affected us mentally, it’s so depressing, it gives you anxiety because you’re waiting.”  

Karen Briggs of with her jewellery store.

Karen Briggs runs Jewel House Rocks every Friday at Hampstead Community Centre - Credit: Charlotte Lillywhite

In South End Green, Barbara, who works at Susan Wainwright on South End Road, spoke of the importance of this month for the shop’s sales: “Although we sell gifts across the year, November and December are definitely the biggest months for us.” 

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She said: “Sales have been positive since being able to reopen after the second lockdown, but, overall, we’ve had huge losses. As a gift shop, in November, it’s ridiculous.”  

She said socks have been selling particularly well this year, alongside other home items such as dressing gowns and pyjamas, likely because people are staying home and “want to feel more homely.”  

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Tracy, who works at Hampstead’s Living and Giving shop for Save the Children in Oriel Place, said that people have been rushing in to buy because they have less time than previous years.

“We’ve got through boxes and boxes of Christmas decorations since reopening,” she said. “We’ve sold a lot more in a shorter period of time, they’ve been flying off the shelves.” 

The shop has had to close its upstairs as people are not buying items such as party outfits, which impacts Christmas and New Year sales.

Tracy said: “We’re selling more things that are casual, and I’ll tag clothes which are good for working from home.” 

Delmaestro by Camilla, a jewellery shop on Heath Street, has also noticed a change in people’s buying habits. It has seen an increase in people buying stones rather than jewellery, which it thinks could be linked to an increased interest in wellbeing because of the pandemic.  

Shops can remain open despite the return to Tier 3 this week. 

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