Chamber sees why shops close early
15:00 24 February 2013
The chairman of Budleigh Salterton Chamber of Commerce has responded to concerns about early shop closures in the town.
A recent letter to the Journal stated that many shops are closed after 4pm, which may put people off visiting.
However, chamber chair Christine Bentley says that, while she does not approve of irregular closing times, she can understand traders’ point of view.
She said: “Afternoons in Budleigh are generally very quiet. A lot of residents do not come out in the afternoon especially if the weather is bad.
“Whilst I deplore shops closing irregularly, I can in a way understand it. We do not expect many visitors at this time of year, so I do not see that any will be put off visiting just because shops may close at 4pm instead of 5pm during the winter months.
“The chamber has found that it cannot influence opening hours. Shops are mostly independently owned and most do not have staff they can fall back on.”
Mrs Bentley said that if Budleigh residents wanted the town’s shops to be open until 5pm, they needed to support them.
“I would also say that there is nothing more soul-destroying than standing in an empty shop, hoping a late customer may come by – so it is a two-way thing.
“If customers do not come and spend, they cannot expect the shops to stay or remain, not only open until 5pm, but at all.”