In a display of defiance to the looters and arsonists who only a night before had wreaked havoc in the city, Manchester retailers were open for trading the following day.

At the Arndale Centre in the middle of town, it was just about back to business as usual on Wednesday although the worst-hit stores had to remain shut.

Rioting broke out in Manchester and neighbouring Salford on Tuesday evening and, as in London on the preceding nights, robbery was the motive.

At Arndale, general manager Glen Barkworth told reporters a decision had been made to close the centre early in anticipation of trouble. However, shops could not be protected entirely.

Fourteen stores with windows facing onto Market Street and New Cathedral Street were damaged. Worst hit was Foot Asylum – a business set up by David Makin, one of the original founders of JD Sports – which remained closed on Wednesday morning.

Barkworth said: “We had made the decision to close early when we were targeted by a number of youths.

“As the night progressed, the situation worsened and one of our designer footwear stores was badly hit. Despite this, we were determined to open as usual.”

Other stores affected by the riots in Manchester included Sainsbury’s, Liam Gallagher’s Pretty Green and Arcadia-owned Miss Selfridge, which was set ablaze.

Local MP Graham Stringer questioned how the mob rule had been able to get off the ground. He said: “The police knew it was coming. It was organised by well-known criminals and gangsters.”