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Up & Running closure deals another blow to High Street

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: April 19, 2014

Store's race is run

Simon Franks of Up & Running.

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SWANSEA High Street faces another blow with the imminent closure of Up and Running.

The owner of the sportswear shop is shutting up after eight years, citing high rents rates and declining sales for the decision. And it comes just weeks after a similar business, Leisure Quest, decamped from High Street to Craddock Street.

Simon Franks, who manages Up and Running, is a franchisee so he sunk his own cash into the firm, which was a labour of love.

But he has gradually watched the business decline, and has had to let staff go over the years, as business dropped off.

He said: "It is disappointing, but I have probably hung on here longer than I should have — because there is always that hope that things will pick up. But if I don't close now I face losing money."

He said the business got off to a steady start, but it faced too many hurdles which were beyond his control, adding: "I was a runner myself and when I moved here to Swansea I decided to do something new. I am a civil engineer by trade and I hope to go back to that after I close at the end of May.

''Things were good for the business in the first few years. Then we were hit by the recession in 2009.

"And a combination of things since then have meant the business isn't profitable enough to keep it open. There are the high rents, high rates and people's changing shopping habits. I don't think shoppers will go back to the High Street again in the same way now they are used to internet shopping."

Mr Franks said while there were clearly efforts being made to shore up Swansea's High Street, the thoroughfare was "wounded".

"There have been emergency meeting with council but nothing concrete is happening here. But then this is not just a Swansea problem is it? Towns everywhere are suffering," he added.

There are signs of optimism on Swansea's High Street, however, with the next phase of work on the £25 million Urban Village scheme under way, set to offer prime commercial space, both for retail and for residential use.

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