Economy boost idea for Exmouth

09:39 20 September 2012

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Temporary ‘pop-up shops’ could help turn around Exmouth’s flagging retail sector, says chamber of commerce chairman, Ian MacQueen.

Shops with short leases was one suggestion submitted to the town team, following news that Chapel Street will suffer yet another shop closure this week.

Millets closes on Friday (Tomorrow); it is understood that the six staff were offered a new position in the Exeter store.

A new business is poised to take over the old Millets’ unit; it is not certain what the new business will be.

The closure marks the seventh retailer in one of Exmouth’s oldest shopping streets to run into trouble in just 18 months, because of low consumer confidence.

The Exmouth branch of Stokes changed hands because the Bristol-based parent company had financial problems, while Game narrowly faced closure.

Stead and Simpson is currently having a closing down sale because of ‘poor’ sales, while Clinton Cards collapsed, taking the Exmouth store with it.

Clothing retailer Urban Republic shut its doors last month and Julian Graves closed earlier in the summer.

Town councillor Steve Gazzard who conducts an annual survey of empty town centre shops said: “Businesses are simply finding that there is not enough footfall.

“Where Exmouth is positioned makes it difficult to attract big retailers and passing trade and we have to find a way to encourage more people to stay in Exmouth and spend.”

Chairman of the chamber of commerce Ian MacQueen called it ‘disturbing’ and suggested that ‘pop-up’ shops could inject much-needed ‘vibrancy’ into the local economy.

He said: “One reason is that people are put off if they open a shop; if it succeeds that is good, but if you fail it can lead to a personal bankruptcy.”

He said that 20-year shop leases sometimes made people think twice about starting up their own business.

“‘Pop-up’ shops could open for short periods of time with special terms from the landlord.

“People can try before they commit and could lead to vibrancy without them losing their shirt and underpants if it fails.”

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