Is the cost-of-living crisis a threat to Cardiff’s Christmas market?

A year after the pandemic small businesses now face another difficult Christmas due to the cost-of-living crisis

On the 30th anniversary of Cardiff’s Christmas market coming to town the cost-of-living crisis is causing concern for local stall owners.

Stefania Fricker, owner of an upcycling clothing stall, said not only do shoppers have less money to spend, but she must be extra careful calculating her costs this year. 

She said: “There are lots of challenges. My business involves sewing which means using the [sewing] machine and iron which are electric.

“All the clothes I embellish need to be washed and sanitised before I can work on them, and I can only put on one wash at midnight as it is cheaper,” said the owner of The Tailor’s Daughter.

Jane Hall, the operations manager at Craft Folk who run Cardiff’s Christmas market, said since Covid-19 the challenges for small businesses have been ongoing. “The cost-of-living crisis for artists and crafts people has been with us for a long time,” she said.

She said they support exhibitors which can include setting up a longer payment plan.

“We have always supported our artists in a variety of ways,” she said. “New makers can apply to take part for five days, or longer, to test trade at a reduced rent and can benefit from this scheme for up to four years.”

I can see that people are not spending. I can see that because I am one of them”

Fricker, who used this scheme to set up her stall this year, said people’s spending habits are different right now due to the cost-of-living crisis.

“I can see that people are not spending. I can see that because I am one of them,” the Italian native said. 

In Cardiff, Fricker said she can see that people stop to browse but are cautious to buy.

“Some have to make the decision whether they spend money on food to eat, or buy Christmas presents,” she said.

She sympathises with people, as she is in a similar situation, saying: “We have to ask, ‘Do we want food on the table or 300 presents in the lounge?’”

She said: “Christmas is not about the volume of gifts, but the thought that goes into it.”