One-third of the “rash” of American candy stores operating on Oxford Street have been closed down due to illegal activity and tax evasion, according to Westminster City Council. 

Seized items from Oxford Street candy stores

Raids on stores selling unsafe and illegal items have seen thousands of products seized

The number of sweet and souvenir stores on the capital’s busiest shopping street has reduced from 30 to 21 as a consequence of trading standards rules and legal action. 

The council shuttered three American candy shops this week and received business rates payments for two others to the value of £250,000 to avoid court action.  

Raids on stores selling unsafe and illegal items have also continued, with the largest haul – some 14,000 suspect items from two stores – being seized last week. 

Councillor Adam Hug, leader of Westminster City Council, said: “The rash of mixed sweet and souvenir shops which sprung up on Oxford Street during lockdown have by general consent dragged the tone of the area down, as well as in some cases openly flouting trading standards laws. 

“They have fleeced both customers and the taxpayer through widespread evasion of business rates amounting to around £8m. However, we are now seeing consistent and determined action by Westminster City Council getting results.

“We keep working with the police and central government and urging ministers to ensure HMRC and the National Crime Agency have the resources they need to fight wider suspected illegality around some of these venues. For unscrupulous sweet shop traders on Oxford Street, life is becoming increasingly sour.”

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