Leeds German Market traders told they are 'not welcome' amid Brexit uncertainty

The director of Leeds’s German Market has said he is confident the event can deal with any “challenges”, after traders raised fears about the impact of Brexit.

By Abbey Maclure
Thursday, 21st November 2019, 12:45 pm
Updated Thursday, 21st November 2019, 12:46 pm

Stall traders at the popular Christkindelmarkt in Millennium Square have raised concerns that leaving the European Union will impact on footfall at the event.

Trader Sabrina, who is originally from Spain, has worked at a hat and wool store in the market for seven years and said she has experienced a more hostile environment since the EU Referendum.

The 37-year-old told the YEP: “Last year we had some harassment, people saying - “get out from here, you are not welcome".

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Leeds German Christmas Market on November 7, a day before opening

“They were laughing and leaving their leaflets on the stall".

The owner of the hat and wool store, who is originally from Germany, was forced to close two stalls at Birmingham Christmas Market due to declining sales.

Sabrina believes this is down to uncertainty around Brexit, adding: “We were a bit worried and last year some of the sales were not as good.

“It’s not selling as much, the Leeds market, but for the moment it’s going OK.”

The Christkindelmarktis one of the largest and longest-running Christmas markets in the UK

History student Honey Butterworth, 19, was enjoying the market with a friend after finishing her deadlines and hopes leaving the EU won’t stop the market returning next year.

She said: “I would hope not but I don’t know if it would have an impact on people here.

“I’m assuming that a lot of this stuff is from all over Europe and there might be a potential impact on how much they can bring into the country, or it might slow down exports.”

But Joanne Taylor, visiting from Sheffield, said: “I don’t think Brexit will impact the market. People are still going to spend for Christmas.”

The Lord Mayor of Leeds Coun Eileen Taylor and Kurt Stroscher, Director of the Christmas Market

The Christkindelmarkt is one of the largest and longest-running Christmas markets in the UK and is organised by Frankfurt Am Main each year.

Frankfurt Am Main’s market director Kurt Stroscher says that whatever happens with Brexit, the German Market will continue to return to Leeds.

He added: “I am confident that we will be able to deal with any challenges that might arise so that the Christkindelmarkt can continue to be part of the Leeds Christmas experience for many years to come.