Traders defiant as stores close down

Johnsons Cleaners on The Crescent St Annes has been forced to close and (below) St Annes Chamber of Trade Chairman John Moxham.
Johnsons Cleaners on The Crescent St Annes has been forced to close and (below) St Annes Chamber of Trade Chairman John Moxham.
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TWO high street stores are closing in a busy town centre as the recession continues to take its toll.

Johnsons Cleaners in The Crescent, St Annes, closed its doors this week.

St Annes Chamber of Trade Chairman John Moxham

St Annes Chamber of Trade Chairman John Moxham

The Sheep Shop next door will shut at the end of the month.

And traders hit out as the country remains under pressure from the worst economic downturn for 80 years.

John Moxham, chairman of St Annes Chamber of Commerce, said: “St Annes has empty shops but think back to what it was like before they did all the development of the square in 2000.

“The state of the area 12 years ago, the number of empty units and how tatty they were, was appalling and it has come a long way forward since then.

“But to lose more shops is disappointing and I think now is the time for landlords, be it individual or national, to offer commercial premises on attractive rents, to encourage people to take them up.

“The council also needs to come forward and offer attractive propositions on business rates.

“Long-term, St Annes has a very bright future and I don’t think there is an issue. But like many individual towns, there are short-term problems we need to address.”

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The loss of Johnsons comes hot on the heels of the closure of jewellers H Samuel and health shop Julian Graves in the Square.

The health store’s St Annes shop is among 100 shutting nationwide.

The future of the Lytham shop, in Clifton Street, remains unclear.

John Coles, spokesman for Johnsons, said: “We have about 500 shops in the country but we are closing 100 which are loss-making and that we don’t think we can turn around.

“It is down to the high street and how people’s buying habits have changed.

“Our outlets will now mainly be drive-ins or at supermarkets.”

A Fylde council spokesman added: “Traders are doing a very good job for Fylde and we do try to support them.

“We have a rate reduction scheme for small businesses and we offer deferred payments for companies struggling to pay their rates.

“We acknowledge that in an economic downturn, traders will find it harder now than they did five years ago, but we believe we’ve got an attractive trading environment.

“We will continue to talk to businesses about how we can support them.”

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