TRADERS hit by a controversial clamping firm say their worst nightmares have come true as they watch their Christmas sales hit a new low.
Retailers in High Street, Cosham, have struggled to shift stock from their shelves this year.
They blame poor sales on the presence of clampers City Watch Enforcement, which monitors a car park behind the Iceland store.
As previously reported in The News, traders were worried that the firm, which has pocketed more than £40,000 in parking fines, would cause problems during the festive season by putting customers off.
Now Dil Dave, who has owned Drapewise Interiors for the past 15 years, said trade is at its worst ever and he is considering moving out.
He said: ‘This is the worst year it has ever been for sales, and it’s because of the clampers. It’s completely dead in my store. The council has done absolutely nothing to get the clampers out sooner.
‘I’m thinking of moving the business away from here because it’s got that bad. Last week I opened up at 9am and my first customer was an hour later.’
Michael Jenkins, 50, owner of Franks Jewellers, said: ‘The clampers have played a big factor in why things are slow. Customers are not coming back because they’re frightened by the huge parking fines.
Pat Scott, 59, owner of Mays of Cosham, said: ‘Everyone is feeling the same way. Trade is slow and it’s the fault of the clamping firm.’
Last month, an investigation was launched by the Security Industry Authority into the behaviour of City Watch.
Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt said: ‘I haven’t heard back from the SIA yet. From what I understand it is looking into things thoroughly. I hope there is a resolution soon.’
Portsmouth City Council is set to take over the car park in April.