Shops close in Shrewsbury but town still bucks the trend
From retirement to business rates, a number of Shrewsbury’s shops have shut their doors.
Along Wyle Cop, a number of prominent retails spaces including Bottega, Feather & Black and House of Needlework have closed in recent months.
Other shops closed on Shrewsbury’s main pedestrian street include Carphone Warehouse and the EE shop.
But while some may think the high street is littered with closed businesses, the opposite is actually true and Shrewsbury is bucking the trend.
Shrewsbury BID director, Alessio Dyfnallt, head of commercial agency and professional services at Cooper Green Pooks, said the occupancy rates in Shrewsbury were excellent compared to similar towns in other parts of the country.
He said: “Shrewsbury town centre comprises around 650 shops. There are currently 15 units under offer and thus will be occupied soon, which only leaves only around 23 shops on the market including those in the shopping centres.
“The national retail vacancy rate for shops is around 11 per cent, and with Shrewsbury’s vacancy rate at around four per cent, the town centre is certainly in a very good place.”
Seb Slater, executive director at Shrewsbury BID, said: “It’s common for town centres to have a number of vacant units due to the natural turnover of tenants in the current retail market.
“It’s encouraging to see a good proportion of Shrewsbury’s vacant units are now under offer, such as the former Feather and Black store in Wyle Cop, former Twinkle Twinkle in Dogpole and former Multiyork in Castle Street, which bodes well for the future.
“The high-end fashion chain Hobbs moving into the former McDonald’s unit in Pride Hill is also a very positive sign of investment. Despite the bad weather in June and town centre roadworks, footfall for the year to date is actually up 0.5 per cent on last year.
“To put that into context, the overall figure for the West Midlands is down 1.3 per cent, comparable market towns down 3.5 per cent, and the UK average is down 1.5 per cent.
“There’s no doubt that the past few months have been difficult for many traders, but we are continuing to work collaboratively with Shropshire Council, Shrewsbury Town Council and Big Town Plan partners to develop and promote Shrewsbury as a great destination to visit and do business.”
Councillor Steve Charmley, deputy leader of Shropshire Council and Cabinet member for assets, economic growth and regeneration, said: “Despite national pressures on retail in the high street, Shrewsbury continues to buck the national trend.
“We’re pleased to report that our shopping centres have very few vacant units and three of these are currently under offer. This is very pleasing as it shows Shrewsbury, including the shopping centres, has a thriving and healthy retail offer with its unique mix of national and independent retailers – there really is something for everyone.”