Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Side Street Blues

"Jersey's main shopping high street is trading at full occupancy. Footfall is up compared to last year and there are signs sales are picking up.
The Town Centre manager says St Helier is ready for summer visitors and none of the shops are empty. " (CTV News)
I have a comment by Adam Gardiner about the CTV article in which the Town Manager said he was very pleased about "full occupancy" in the high street. The full article can be read in the link above. Adam says that:
"You will note that the full occupancy to which is referred is limited to 'main shopping street'. It conveniently ignores the rest of St. Helier, and the island which still has many closed shops and others in the throes of closing.  It's like saying there has been no road accidents on Victoria Avenue this week! While that may be true it hardly paints an accurate picture of road accidents in general."
"I am sure that we are starting to emerge from the recession, but we still have someway to go yet. The town manager who put out the above suggested footfall has increased on Kings Street/Queen Street is rather guilty of a bit of spin. We are in any event talking about the run up to Easter. So we should be seeing the first tranche of visitors arriving on the island - the visual effect of that may be the perception of more people traipsing our main shopping street but that is a seasonal effect and to be expected. I would be very surprised if say compared to January, February and March we were not seeing more footfall on our 'main shopping street'. I would nonetheless like to know how he actually measures that!"
"As they say, one swallow does not make a summer. So what if there is 100% occupancy on King Street/Queen Street. There always was - until GST was introduced and Data Protection and other States bureaucracy started to eat in trading 'bottom lines' of genuine Jersey company's - who have been gradually pushed off our 'main shopping street' and out of business - Amy's being the last. The 100% occupancy on King Street/Queen Street is not that surprising when you consider that vast majority of the retailers are UK owned/operated and therefore zero-rated for tax. They must be laughing. Apart from the jobs they provide, there is, all said and done, very little benefit our economy gets from them."
"Not much for the town manager to sing about in my opinion."
And here is a comment posted yesterday on my blog about Colomberie, which is also worth noting - Colomberie has always been something of the poor relation to the rest of town.
"I have a shop in Colomberie (Snow Hill end) and this street has several empty shops, some show no sign of life, others are being worked on. The Town Parish have managed to reduce its number of parking spaces in town for public use and never seem to replace them. Green Street will soon be out of action due to adding to the floors to accommodate the ridiculously placed Police Headquarters. No other multi storey car park has been build for decades. We are about to lose the Esplanade parking but still no sign of new car parks."
"What about free parking on a Saturday or Free-After-Three as used in some UK towns like Chester. We need the government to make town a pleasurable place to visit again so people will think twice before they rush to the hand of mammon (Amazon). They have to do something before we all die off."
"And to anyone who keeps trotting out the "retailers have had it too good for years" tag or "rip off Jersey" tag; stop trying to compare a local independent to the largest retailer on the planet, it is not like for like and is unfair on the many fair traders on the island. Us so called "rich business owners" are actually putting many more hours a week into our business than our staff, often 6 or 7 days a week. If we were rich; why would we even be working on the shop floor? Masochism? "
Adam Gardiner again:
"It is shameful the way Colomberie has been forgotten - pushed onto the back burner. The same is true of other parts of town. Minden Place area for example. If it were not for the Coop, I expect that would have much less footfall in that area. There is a constant exchange of retail premises - and a couple empty as I write. As you say, Bath Street is all but dying too and a wander off the main byways sees even more empty premises."
"Relaxing current parking at weekends and after 3pm on a permanent basis is certainly one option that needs looking at as is car parking in general. But that is an altogether different argument - the outlandish rents that are being charged is the main one I feel. Can we regulate them, should we regulate them, what can be done to make rents more realistic?"


James said...

CTV's report isn't even true. Amy's, on a prominent corner site, is now empty...

(Mind you, I think Adam's comment about Amy's being the last genuinely Jersey company may also be wide of the mark - I think at least one of the jewellers is, and Hamon's have not yet gone (though rumour has it that Mr Hamon is finally throwing in the towel this year))

Roisin said...

a few years ago (not many) I walked the precinct and counted approximately 55% of shops as UK and 45% as Jersey owned. This may have changed since then but there are still locally owned shops in the high street. In the side streets the majority of shops are locally owned.
I hear on the grapevine that Roulette are moving into Amy's (Roulette is locally owned).