Business leaders today warned shops in Wyre they are committing “economic suicide” after figures revealed many are not using the internet to help boost sales.
Wyre Council’s Town Centre Consultation was carried out with the aim of helping shops in Poulton, Fleetwood, Thornton, Cleveleys and Garstang boost sales by surveying shoppers and businesses.
The authority received 157 responses - half from traders and half from shoppers - and found 55 per cent of traders do not use social networking sites and 51 per cent have no online purchasing links on their websites.
That has raised eyebrows among the Fylde coast’s business leaders, who see the lack of online presence as a quick way to bring the shutters down on any business.
Steve Pye, chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses on the Fylde coast, said: “I’m surprised because it’s like having a shop and putting a ‘closed’ sign up.
“It’s economic suicide and they’ve got to have a presence out there because millions of people go online every day.”
Hugh Evans, policy director at the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, added: “Sales on the high street are going to go below 50 per cent this year while online sales are going to keep on rising and any businesses not taking advantage is going to suffer in the long term.”
Gordon McCann, economy portfolio holder at Wyre Council, said: “This is the way things are going in the future and an online business is vital if they are going to run a successful business.”