Chorley bucks trend for empty stores
6:00am Thursday 19th September 2013 in News
Independent traders have been the key to Chorley bucking the trend on rising numbers of empty shops, business leaders have claimed.
Shop vacancy rates in Chorley are 5.6 per cent, while the North West has an average of 13.7 per cent and the national figure is 11.1 per cent.
The Chorley vacancy rate is kept low by the higher number of independents in town centre.
Chorley has a total of 73.4 per cent independent stores, while North West has 51.5 per cent and nationally 43.5 per cent.
Malcolm Allen, chairman of the Chorley Traders’ Alliance, said: “We’ve consistently had a lot of independent traders.
“We have a low vacancy rate in Chorley because some of the chains that have closed stores nationally were not in Chorley, such as Thorntons, Jessops, Republic or Burton. Instead we had so many independent traders.”
Mr Allen also welcomed the news that one of Chorley’s prime retail sites in Market Street was being refurbished. He said: “The opening of DW Sport by Dave Whelan will help because we haven't got a shop that sells sports equipment.
“We have a JD Sport, that sell more items of a fashionable nature. So I believe this fills a gap in our retail offer.
“We need national retailers to supplement what the independent retailers offer. People from surrounding areas come in to Chorley to purchase from the independent stores and to visit the markets.”
Coun Peter Wilson, who oversees the town centre for Chorley Council, said: “I’m expecting that downward trend to continue apace with the plans we have got for the redevelopment of the former McDonald’s site in Market Street.
“We also have the opening of Cakes by Ruth in St George’s Street, Chorley Travel Lounge in Fazakerley Street, A Step Beyond Beauty in Market Street, the White Hart pub, and DW Sports, which is soon to open in Market Street, all of which are bringing vacant properties back into use.”
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