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Electrical stores on coast close permanently over footfall fears

PUBLISHED: 15:19 17 June 2020 | UPDATED: 09:02 18 June 2020

Robert Hughes, managing director of Hughes Electrical. Picture: Hughes Electrical

Robert Hughes, managing director of Hughes Electrical. Picture: Hughes Electrical

Hughes Electrical

A pair of electrical stores on the coast have closed, with owners citing the prospect of diminishing footfall amid social distancing restrictions.

Hughes Electrical store on Gorleston High Street has closed permanently. Picture: Google Maps.Hughes Electrical store on Gorleston High Street has closed permanently. Picture: Google Maps.

Hughes Electrical has permanently shut its outlets in both Gorleston and Southwold, with signs announcing ‘To Let’ appearing outside the premises on Gorleston High Street.

Robert Hughes, chairman, said the family-run business made the decision as “sales have halved in each store over the last five years, making them no longer profitable”.

He also mentioned the coronavirus lockdown.

“The subsequent need for social distancing only serves to increase the costs and lower the footfall making a bad situation even worse,” he said.

Hughes Electrical in Southwold has closed permanently. Picture: Google Maps.Hughes Electrical in Southwold has closed permanently. Picture: Google Maps.

News of the closure has been met with disappointment among Gorleston residents, with some taking to social media.

One woman commented: “Sad to hear, all the staff in there were lovely and welcoming, wish them all the best.”

A man said: “Shame, let’s hope it replaced by something good.”

“Bad move I’m sure, will be sorely missed,” posted another woman.

Hughes Electrical store on Gorleston High Street has closed permanently. Picture: Google Maps.Hughes Electrical store on Gorleston High Street has closed permanently. Picture: Google Maps.

Mr Hughes said: “I appreciate that this is disappointing news for people in Gorleston and Southwold but we remain committed to retailing in this region.”

The Lowestoft-based business, which has more than 30 branches in East Anglia, reopened four of its Norfolk stores on Monday (June 15), with people now able to visit the shops in Great Yarmouth, King’s Lynn, as well as the stores in Norwich’s Hall Road and Mason Road.

The family firm was established 99 years ago, with its first shop on Tonning Street in Lowestoft, where the company built and sold radios.

Its head office is still based in Lowestoft.

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Mr Hughes said the business had to make the decision to “protect the company from losses so as to ensure we can see in our 100th birthday next year and offer a service to this region for many decades to come”.

“We hope customers will use our nearby stores in Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft which have now re-opened following lockdown or the smaller shops in Beccles and Halesworth who will reopen over the coming weeks,” he said.


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