Trade slump causes store to close in New Year

Jane Biagi is closing down her shop in Garden Street due to a dramtic drop in footfall since the closure of the JR Taylor department store
Jane Biagi is closing down her shop in Garden Street due to a dramtic drop in footfall since the closure of the JR Taylor department store
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A business owner is shutting up shop in St Annes after seeing trade slump by as much as two thirds since the closure of the JR Taylor store.

Jane Biagi (pictured) opened her Biagi shop selling jewellery and accessories in November last year – just a month before it was announced that Taylor’s was being put up for sale.

The department store which had been at the heart of St Annes for more than a century closed last January and has stood empty since.

In that time, claims Jane, footfall in Garden Street, where her shop is situated, has slumped by as much as 65 per cent – and she has no choice but to call it a day. The shop will close at the end of next month.

She intends to concentre on her online business, which she conducted for seven years prior to opting for her first high street presence in St Annes – at a location specifically chosen because it was within yards of JR Taylor.

“It seemed ideal and while Taylor’s was open, we did good business because what I was selling appealed to their clientele,” said Jane. “But business declined rapidly after they closed and footfall in the street is down by as much as 65 per cent.

“I have given it every chance in the hope that it might pick up but there has been no Christmas rush at all this year as far as I am concerned and I am going back to online only.”

St Annes Chamber of Trade chairman John Moxham said he was sorry to hear of Jane’s situation but felt that the town generally had coped well with its first Christmnas season since the demise of the JR Taylor store, which remains up for rent.

“I empathise with her and realise that Garden Street has suffered in terms of footfall since Taylor’s went,” he said.

“But I think the town generally has withstood the loss of Taylor’s pretty well.

“Of course we all want to see the building occupied again as soon as possible but it is important that it attracts quality occupants.

“The wrong kind of tenant could make the situation worse, so hopefully it will be well worth the wait.”

The former Taylors store, which covers four floors, continues to be advertised for rental at £137,500 per annum by Blackpool-based agents Duxbury’s Commercial, who declined to respond to approaches from The Gazette for an update on the situation.