Well, will they or won’t they? I’m referring to the news that there is the possibility – according to a trade ‘expert’ – that Boston’s Marks and Spencer store is one of those likely to close. I’m told that local customers asking what the position is are told that the staff doesn’t know! Nothing different there though; staff always seem to be the last ones to find out.
The company is also remaining tight-lipped and dismissed the report as ‘speculation’ and not based on M&S data.
Following the announcement, stories in national papers were saying that the ‘list’ produced was an assessment of which stores would be closing ‘in failing areas’; and among the reasons these areas were failing were a lack of parking, high parking charges, and too many empty shops in the area. That seems to strike a chord somewhere!
If the national reports are to be believed, and the reasons given for the closures are true, then it would seem odds-on that we will be losing yet another major shop. That is, of course, unless the county council (who apparently own the Market Place!) will bite the bullet and do something about it before we are faced with even more closures. Many towns are now giving free parking at certain times; some are even reducing parking charges, and are trying their best to help local businesses.
Rumours that the rents being charged are causing a lot of the closures, coupled with high business rates, certainly don’t help the situation. Although the council has no control over rents – unless it’s their property – they do have some control over the rates.
Whatever the result, perhaps the time has now come for important decisions to be made about the town’s future.