Leeds cafes suffer as people told to work from home during 'skint' January

By Ben Abbiss

Owners of cafes in Leeds say they are suffering a perfect storm of January downturn and the Government's advice to work from home.

On December 10, last year, Boris Johnson moved England to Plan B in the fight against coronavirus, which included the 'work from home' guidance.

That means fewer people working in offices in Leeds city centre and that has had a knock-on effect for businesses that thrive on lunchtime and commuting trade.

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The popular cafe and brunch spot, Laynes Espresso, on New Station Street is one of those feeling the pinch.

The business's Twitter account tweeted this week: "Just so I know it’s not personal, is everybody working from home again?"

And they are not the only ones. Arcadia Leeds, which is based in Otley Road in Headingley, replied: "Same here."

The bar has closed early recently due to a lack of customers.

San Co. Co on New Briggate said its sales are down 40 per cent this month.

A spokesperson said: "Some other factors are affecting us as well so it's not just people working from home.

"Local factors like road works and affects of the pandemic but business is down about 40 per cent on a normal year."

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Jodie Beer, owner and baker at Jodie Bakes, which sells to venues around Leeds, described the working from home advice in January as a "double edged sword".

She said: "I think it is an onslaught of both of those factors at the same time.

"Everyone's skint in January as well and everyone walking around town can see that it's so much more empty than normal. You can get a parking space at John Lewis still! Whoever heard of that!"

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