Shops must face change

St Annes Chamber of Trade Chairman John Moxham
St Annes Chamber of Trade Chairman John Moxham
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Fylde coast traders say the high street must change or face a bleak 

The call comes in the wake of the recent collapse of household names Blockbuster, HMV and Jessops 
under pressure from internet sales.

Steve Pye from the Federation of Small Businesses in Blackpool said it was a blow high street chains were closing down, not only because of the loss of jobs, but also the supply chain businesses such as haulage would be hit too.

He added: “There are a number of well documented reasons why the high street is suffering, and to make matters worse, there are reports of a further 144 retail outlets, both large and small, in danger of 
closing across the UK.

“The Government and the opposition parties should work together on a plan to salvage the high street shops before they disappear because we are likely to be left with stores which don’t pay their fair share of taxes in this country.”

John Moxham from St Annes Chamber of Trade said the demise of the big names was due to changing shopping trends.

He said: “It doesn’t necessarily mean gloom for our local high streets, but it does mean change.

“A lot of us felt 2013 would be the year we saw some of the big names go. If HMV had grasped the internet years ago it would have survived.

“I am sure these big stores will be replaced by something else. Our high streets are changing – look at how Church Street in Blackpool has changed.”

Paula Ardron-Gemmell from Pink Tree Parties in Kirkham said shops had to focus on specialist service.

She added: “The internet is becoming so much more important and retailers have to take it on.

“We concentrate on customer service and the personal touch which is the one thing you don’t get online.”