Tough times for Taunton retailers... but town centre manager confident of revival (From This is The West Country)
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Tough times for Taunton retailers... but town centre manager confident of revival
THE past week has been a testing time for Taunton town centre.
Jessops in St James Street closed down, leaving its eight staff jobless, while HMV announced it was going into administration, putting another 20 local jobs at risk.
Angry customers of the two high street giants then found their gift cards and vouchers were worthless as the indebted chains refused to accept them, and it is still unclear whether HMV will accept them as a form of payment in the future.
But Taunton Town Centre manager Graham Love is confident the town can continue to "buck the trend."
He said: “The New Year has brought the inevitable announcement that some much loved national brands are to close their doors across the country, including in Taunton.
“But Taunton continues to buck the trend with retail vacancy rates in the prime position well below national average.
“We can’t be complacent as businesses and landlords have to work very hard in the current economic climate to retain this position.”
Last November, cash flow problems saw Taunton snooker and pool venue Rileys close, and next month it will go up for auction with a guide price of £125,000 to £150,000.
While some retailers are failing, others are celebrating Taunton as great for business.
Fat Face moved to a prominent town centre position just before Christmas.
When the store opened, Robert Moore, Fat Face manager of property and portfolio, said: “This relocation is a celebration of our commitment, and appreciation of this great location, crew and customer base.”
At the same time Orange, re-branded as EE, moved to East Street, and the Perfume shop opened at the end of Hammet Street.
The town centre company is in talks with property agents, Project Taunton, the Chamber of Commerce and Taunton Deane Council to discuss attracting retailers.