// The number of American candy shops on Oxford Street has reduced from 30 to 21
// The stores have been at the centre of tax evasion claims
A third of American candy stores on London’s Oxford Street have been closed down, according to Westminster City Council.
As a consequence of a clampdown on trading standards and legal action the number of stores has shrunk from 30 to 21.
Just this week, the council closed three American candy shops and received £250,000 of business rates payments from two others in order to avoid court action, Retail Week reported.
Raids have also been undertaken on stores with 14,000 suspect items seized from two stores last week.
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Westminster City Council leader Adam Hug 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.”