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Shop closures in Towns.

Community Veteran
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Registered: 02-08-2007

Shop closures in Towns.

Many Towns have over 25% of their shops shut down due to the economic situation and the way things are it's likely this figure will increase.
I Read an interesting article today which expressed the view that most of these shops will never reopen and shopping in Towns will virtually cease leading to the redesign of Towns which could include more housing units.
In addition to the dire economic situation we are in coupled with the ever increasing number of out of Town shopping Malls and increasing internet sales this can only add to the problem of the remaining shops in towns.
I Have frequently passed some of the larger chain stores in town and apart from pound land most are completely empty apart from the staff, overheads must be considerable so it can only be a matter of time before they go as well.
One store in our town T J Hughes often appeared busy as they had some good bargains but even they are now in recevership.
So what do you think, will this prediction come to pass ? 
13 REPLIES
Community Veteran
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Re: Shop closures in Towns.

Sadly the process started decades ago and we are all to blame.  Cry
I was brought up in a pub in the 50s and 60s and if there wasn't a pub on the street corner there was a grocers, green grocers, sweet shop, bookmakers, fish shop, bike shop etc. etc. all these small businesses are gone and now the "high street". These businesses and those in the high street were part of the community and the department stores were largely locally owned. We gave those up for national chains owned away and the profits being take out of the area.
Now we order on T'internet and the profits will go we know not where!  Roll eyes
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Community Veteran
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Re: Shop closures in Towns.

Anecdotal:
A Local fish and chip shop, (counter sales only, no dining-in) in a small country town not far from Sheffield had it’s rent increased from £40K to £50K this week, the owner is closing down, reason given, cannot afford the rent. (That’s sales of 1000x £1 bags of chips per week to cover the rent alone)……………Sad.
A second hand bookshop in another local town (5 floors, thousands of books, open 7 days a week, comfortable armchairs, bottomless coffee pot, coins in the box). The owner employs students, retirees (admittedly on minimum wage), pays full Business rate, buys his stock from anybody who takes boxes of books in, (you may get £10 for a box of paperbacks). He is closing down, reason, his competition is the likes of Scope, Age Concern, Heart Foundation, Cancer research and the other dozen charity shops, run by volunteers, pay a discounted Business rate and are given their stock for free.
This I feel is wrong, if a business is paying full business rates and employing staff there should be a ban on charity shops competing in the same sector, there should at least be a level playing field.
Community Veteran
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Registered: 12-08-2007

Re: Shop closures in Towns.

I saw all this happen many years ago in the US when towns lost their shopping streets and everybody started shopping out of town.  Many of the downtown areas are now being reborn and are thriving again but with a different mix of traders.
@gleneagles, charity shops are big business now and most of the large charities operate their shops on the same commercial basis as other businesses.  The business rate concession is wrong but the landlords like having their premises occupied and they do not have to pay any rates themselves.  Most are let to charities on very short leases so that if a proper tenant comes along they can move in quickly.
Community Veteran
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Re: Shop closures in Towns.

In reality the towns need small unique businesses that sell stuff that isn't cloned by every chain store. Places that get peoples curiousity going. Not chain stores that sell the same boring stuff in every town.
Unfortunately though no-one has the money to set up these shops because the chain stores have made store rents / prices so valuable with their vast profits that no small guy can afford to get in.
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Anteaus
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Registered: 02-08-2007

Re: Shop closures in Towns.

Quote from: Sprite
... the chain stores have made store rents / prices so valuable with their vast profits that no small guy can afford to get in.

True. Also the malls have the monopoly on cheap or free parking in many cities, with swingeing parking charges and short time limits elsewhere ensuring that shoppers don't go to smaller onstreet shops. I'm sure there is complicity involved here.
Community Veteran
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Re: Shop closures in Towns.

Don't forget the local councils who are killing town centres with ever increasing parking charges.
Instead of drop their charges in time of recession or even freeze them they put them up instead on the assumption it will be guaranteed to increase their income. Local council did this year after year and the number of cars decreased and decreased. It was a huge car park with something like 300 spaces.. used to be almost full to the brim and the last time I used it the thing was practically empty.
Private companies are also at it.. one of the largest branded companies prides itself on increased revenues and decreased occupancy (less cars using the place). What the hell is the point of running a car park if you don't want cars in it?
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Community Veteran
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Re: Shop closures in Towns.

Local authorities see parking charges as a cash cow and ignore the effect they have on shoppers using a High Street, especially one with only a few shops.  Local authorities have a lot to answer for.
pierre_pierre
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Posts: 19,757
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Shop closures in Towns.

the Braintree case
They built a factory outlet site less than twomiles from town centre
they have just conned the town and shop owners, put in for quotes to a conversion of the town centre car and bus park to shop or other
ON EU rules it had to be open to any EU firm, they came back with three quotes nd then told us the general public, we could chose which one we wanted, the general answer was none, Hard luck under EU rules we cant back out, so more new shops and a lot of empty ones just down the road
then this week, this cme out
http://www.braintreeandwithamtimes.co.uk/news/9235263.Braintree__Traders_unconvinced_by_new_BID/?ref...
(Full quote
Quote
Traders are threatening to leave Braintree if they are forced to pay “another business tax”.
Braintree Council last week signed off £85,000 to fund a pilot year of the controversial Business Improvement District scheme.
If passed, the initiative would force traders to pay 1.75% of their rateable value towards town centre improvements.
But so far traders have been unconvinced by the scheme, fearing too much of the cash would be spent on George Yard.
Dawn Kench, from Puddleducks cafe, said: “People are very reluctant to sign up to BID.
“Much on the investment in Braintree seems to go to George Yard, well, Braintree is not just George Yard.”
BID coordinators have spent the last 18 months trying to drum up support for the plans from more than 400 of the town’s businesses.
They require a simple majority ‘yes’ vote from traders representing over half of the town’s rateable value.
But Brenda Baker, from the BID committee admitted she was struggling to muster support for the scheme.
She said she needed to “show rather than tell” businesses the type of projects a BID would deliver.
Community Veteran
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Re: Shop closures in Towns.

Quote from: artmo
Local authorities have a lot to answer for.

They most certainly do but you and I both know they will never answer..
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Community Veteran
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Registered: 12-08-2007

Re: Shop closures in Towns.

Before long this will hit the local authorities in their pocket.  Business rates do not go directly to the authority but to central government and they then distribute it out locally.  If less is collected then there will be less to pass out.
Local traders quote parking costs as one of the major factors in the disappearance of shops in the High Street.  It's not the only problem but certainly one that has to be looked at.
Community Veteran
Posts: 13,920
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Registered: 01-08-2007

Re: Shop closures in Towns.

Indeed.. but the people who run councils are either too lazy to be creative about finding money or they're too stupid. They just chase after what they think is easy money and then complain when it runs out.
They don't learn, they don't listen and ultimately they don't care.. until its too late  Roll eyes
Still.. at least we have big shooing centres that care for us with free parking  Cool (bet that'll change once the town centres vanish).
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pierre_pierre
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Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Shop closures in Towns.

more on Braintree town centre mess

Braintree: £44k salary for bus park scheme boss

and dont blame labour, it been Con/Dem for a long time
full quote from here http://www.braintreeandwithamtimes.co.uk/news/9236680.Braintree____44k_salary_for_bus_park_scheme_bo...
Quote
A new manager who will oversee the bus park development could be paid almost £44,000.
Braintree Council advertised the two year town centre regeneration manager post until September 1.
A spokesman said the role differs from that of town centre manager Chris Trim, who was paid £42,000 before being made redundant in March, and developed ideas for the future of the town and worked with local businesses to promote market centres.
Director of Sustainable Development Jon Hayden said: “The appointee will work with private sector partners to transform the town centres of Braintree, Witham and Halstead into successful, sustainable retail and business centres, initially working with Henry Boot to lead on the £14 million investment into Braintree town.
pierre_pierre
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