Great Yarmouth town centre hit again as Body Shop confirms it will close
- Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2015
Shoppers have been assured that it is 'not all doom and gloom' for Great Yarmouth as another major retail name announced it was pulling out of the town.
The Body Shop has confirmed it will be closing its King Street store and that the shop's last day of trading will be on Saturday, June 20.
Town centre manager Jonathan Newman described the news as 'incredibly disappointing' but stressed there was still much to be optimistic with Yarmouth boasting a higher than average number of independent stores.
A statement from The Body Shop said: 'We regularly review our store portfolio performance and have reluctantly taken the decision to not renew the lease of The Body Shop Great Yarmouth store which will close on June 20.
'We are currently in consultation with the sales team to discuss job opportunities elsewhere within the business.
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'Customers in the Great Yarmouth area can still purchase their favourite products by shopping online and via the The Body Shop At Home party business.'
With an estimated two million leases due to expire nationally in the next 18 months retailers across the country were evaluating their high street presence presenting a challenge to most towns, Mr Newman said.
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But with King Street already reeling from the loss of M&S earlier in the year another closure in what was once the retail heart of the town was a bitter blow which did little to help its reputation for empty units, bookies and charity shops.
'It is a challenge facing most towns,' he said. 'If they decide that the store is not making enough profit they refer people to their online offer and close it down. We have seen it with Thorntons and Stead and Simpson, they are making a commercial decision.
'My understanding is that River Island were facing a similar decision but that they have renewed their lease.
'The whole retail property market has changed significantly since the credit crunch of 2008 and there are very few retailers signing up for long tenancy agreements.
'It is incredibly disappointing for Great Yarmouth to be losing The Body Shop but we have got some new retailers coming into the town.'
Edinburgh Woollen Mill, Peacocks and Ponden Home could open in the empty Co-op shop as soon as August he said, with a fashion pop-up shop opening in the vacant Superdrug shop in King Street.
Also fuelling a sense of optimism was the recent sale out of administration of Victoria Arcade to a mystery buyer for £1.1m.
'It is not all doom and gloom but I do accept that The Body Shop will be a loss to the town. We have three new shops coming in that could attract other ones. There are some retailers that have come out of the recession leaner and meaner and are looking to grow.
'Great Yarmouth offers plenty of opportunities for them with vacant shops and a demographic which includes a high visitor population in the summer season. The town has a higher proportion of unique, independent shops than the national average and they need the support of the local population to trade.'