London shopkeeper earns only £13 a day and fears he won’t be able to pay his rent
Image by Mariam Khan
A London shopkeeper has revealed the hardships he is facing in the midst of the cost of living crisis that has affected many small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) across the country.
Mohammed Masi, owner of MNS Bedding Clothing and Accessories in Catford, has been running his business for the last five years and started feeling the pressure since the end of Covid lockdowns. He told MyLondon, “Last Friday, I worked all day, my shop was open a full day and I made £13”.
According to MyLondon, even though the area outside Catford Centre is busy, the location where Masi sits is ‘eerily quiet’, with people only visiting to go to the cinema hall or the community space just ‘a few doors away’.
He says, “There’s no business here, if you checked my bank statement there is nothing.” He blames this on Covid and points out that there are no customers in the area even on a Friday afternoon. “Before Covid, [it was] good, normal business, but after Covid, people don’t come to this area,” he informs.
Given the current situation of his failing business, Masi fears that he will not be able to pay his rent for the month of March. He needs to pay £4,500 in rent to Lewisham Council, which seems ever more difficult to do as mid-month draws closer.
He has attempted to contact the council several times but unable to reach out for some reason.
Image by Mariam Khan
He tells MyLondon, “Before Covid it was normal, [paying the] rent and council bills were no problem but after Covid it’s a problem. Nobody comes here anymore. I’ve tried with every item, [keeping prices as cheap as possible] for the customer but there are no more customers. It’s Friday and there are no customers.”
He then recalled the sales he made on the day of the interview and said, “Today, one customer spent £15, another £13 and one customer spent £3, that’s it.”
The Office for National Statistics released data last year for City AM which confirmed that a large number of small and medium sized businesses had collapsed in London. In 2022, the number of businesses that collapsed were 53,880, a steep rise from the figures shown in 2017 which mentioned that 37,350 businesses had failed to stay afloat that year.
When asked about what the future of his business looks like, Masi told MyLondon, “After Covid [and the cost of living crisis] people have stopped coming. I’ve asked them and they say they don’t have money to shop. Suddenly the walk-ins aren’t happening, the Catford Centre used to be busy but it’s not anymore.”