LETTERS – Support by shopping locally

The crisis in the High Street will last into 2020 as shops try to fight rising costs and the move to online shopping continues, experts have warned.

By the end of 2019 chains shed 8,000 stores and 85,000 jobs, with retail experts predicting the bloodbath will continue at the same pace during 2020.

The period immediately after the golden quarter of Christmas trading is the most dangerous for ailing High Street companies who face large rent and business rates bills.

During the wet weather, shoppers seem to desert the High Street during the Christmas run up.

Footfall was down by ten per cent – the worst performance since the financial crisis and the outlook is much of the same.

The gloomy outlook comes in a year when dozens of well-known brands have gone into administration.

Although the Conservative Party recently announced it would hand tax breaks to independent retailers, music venues, small cinemas and pubs, worth up to £12,500 for each premises, this relief appears to be on a temporary basis.

Tom Ironside, director of Business & Regulation at the British Retail Consortium said: “Government must address rising costs particularly the sky-high business rates, or we are likely to see more job losses and store closures in the future.”

With the national outlook looking dull we have the local shopping outlet, Springfields planning for 15 new stores, four more restaurants/cafe units which will attract more local jobs.

But I note on a more local focus how quiet Spalding town centre was prior to Christmas. I wonder how the town centre fared compared to the national demise?

I thought the Sunday Christmas market increased the footfall, but I noted not many businesses opened to support this on the day. I suggest if South Holland District Council was to think outside the box we could embrace a Sunday market once a month. This would be worth a trial run to see if it would be beneficial in increasing the footfall for the town centre of Spalding and the local economy.

I feel that some of our shops in our local high streets will go the same way as our local pubs – use them or lose them.

We can support our communities by shopping locally. Councils and, particularly, the Government could do a lot more.

Rodney Sadd

Carrington Road, Spalding

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