Town centre chiefs’ concern over shops under threat
STAFF at Stratford-upon-Avon’s Austin Reed, Viyella and Country Casuals outlets voiced worries this week over the group going into administration and said they hoped a buyer for the company would be found.
The Austin Reed news came hard on the heels of BHS being put into administration, a firm which also has a store in Stratford, employing 30 staff.
Concern about the shops' future was also expressed by Stratforward, the organisation which effectively manages the town centre.
A spokeswoman said: “The news that some of our biggest, best-known and longest standing high street stores are struggling just acts as a reminder to us all how tough it is out there in the retail sector at the moment.”
She added: “Any shop closure obviously has an impact, not just for the staff employed, but also for the town. People who work in our shops are also customers of other shops, cafés, restaurants and bars, as well as local services providers such as dentists, lawyers and estate agents. Closures also have a negative visual impact on the street scene, no one likes to see empty or boarded up premises on any high street. It can actually turn people off coming into town.
“It perhaps also serves as a reminder how important it is that we stand and work together as a business community to encourage people to come to our town to shop, do business and socialise.”