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Swansea stores to close as Mary Portas claims high streets are in crisis

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: December 14, 2011

Mary Portas

Mary Portas

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TWO chain stores confirmed they are closing their Swansea outlets on the day a retail guru said Britain's high streets are in crisis.

A report by Mary "Queen of Shops" Portas claimed town centres are sick or dying because they have failed to adapt to modern shopping trends.

The report suggests 28 key areas for improvement including introducing a visionary, strategic and strong operational management team for high streets.

The retail guru also suggests free controlled parking schemes that work for their town centres, measures to make it easier for people to become market traders by removing unnecessary regulations and encouraging Government to look at ways business rates can better support small businesses.

The news came as restaurant chain Pizza Hut confirmed it has closed its outlet on Kingsway in Swansea.

A spokesman for the chain said: "The lease at our Kingsway restaurant expires soon, and we took the decision to close the site."

Lingerie chain La Senza has also confirmed it will be closing its store on Oxford Street in Swansea due to poor trading.

A La Senza spokeswoman said: "The closure of the store is in line with our current strategy of closing under performing stores."

Swansea's Business Improvement District (Bid) chief executive Russell Greenslade said he was disappointed to hear of the closures but that they were a sign of the times across the UK with retailers changing their company positioning and retail offer.

Mr Greenslade said Swansea Bid is already acting on key areas suggested by Mary Portas to boost trade on British high streets.

The Bid chief executive said: "The city centre has great parking offers ongoing, has the largest indoor market in the country coupled with seasonal street markets and Swansea Bid is very much involved with a central government business rates review with one of our directors on the task group looking at it nationally."

The Welsh Government is currently carrying out a short, sharp review of business rates.

The review will consider the relative importance of the non-domestic and business rates regime as a lever for supporting economic growth.

It will also assess the implications of specific policies in relation to small business rate relief .

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  • laney5_123  |  January 03 2012, 8:50PM

    parking prices and the one way system an bus lanes thats whats killing the town. This town was thriving untill they started messing around with it. Out of town shopping has now taken over with free parking why would any one want to enter the town.

  • Tinkerbell84  |  December 21 2011, 2:15PM

    I think we have to accept that times have changed. We also have to accept that Swansea is not Cardiff. Cardiff has an amazing shopping centre which will not be replicated in Swansea. That said, that doesnt meant Swansea cant improve (and surely it has to) The current batch of shops is dire but there has to be something to interest people going into the City and also it has to be made easy for them to get there (as we dont have the "pull" of the choice in Cardiff which means people will suffer to get there). Many women now work so dont have the time to shop as they did in the 60's. This also has to be recognised. We have too many sports/card/mobile phone and tat shops. Whilst I like the real craft Christmas market my blood boils when I see stalls selling tat, socks, christmas paper etc. There are market traders paying extremely high rent all year selling this type of stuff to have their busiest time challenged by these temporary stall holders - its just not fair on them. To my mind we should encourage individuality and independent shops but that probably means the Council adjusting their mindset with regard to rent etc. Parking is a nightmare. Getting into the City Centre is a nightmare and when you eventually get there parking is ridiculously expensive. Yes there is cheap parking in High Street but half the reason for this is that no one really wants to park there as it is out of the town and people feel intimidated walking down High Street. I accept that things will never be the same but that doesnt meant they cant be improved. There are some beautiful buildings in Swansea which have been left to deteriorate which is a crying shame. We seem to have no pride in our City which at the moment is understandable. Wind Street is what it is - like it or loathe it, it brings people in to spend money. I would like to see a proper cafe quarter developed and this could be something for the Marina area. We have lots of positives which can be developed but they are not being maximised at the current time. I think we all realise cost is an issue but we are constantly left disappointed. I dont think there is one easy answer but there are lots of things which can make things better.

  • CLSurveys  |  December 21 2011, 12:44PM

    Thing is Ray no matter what funding the clubs get, or if they get millions from the premier league in swansea city's case, it has nothing to with the council or anyone apart from them as you quite rightly say they are a private company. The agreement in place is fully being abided by the clubs, is it their fault that the agreement in place is flawed ? Is it their fault that a completely different legal identity is losing money ? The agreement set is all they can follow, they can't just give money away beyond the contracts, there is accountability with ltd companies, they must quantify all money in and out of the business. Your problem is that you are unhappy with the situation , which I can understand, but unless new contracts are drawn up nothing will change, I understand that it's being looked at, but it still doesn't mean that an agreement will be met in the short term. But you still haven't said why this discussion on here has anything to do with the retailers closing up shop, you still havent given a connection - I wait with baited breathe your reply!

  • BobEvans2011  |  December 20 2011, 5:38PM

    Nowadays most woman work so the High Street is no longer suitable working families dont have the time to shop every day and take their shopping home on the bus. Another major problem with town centres is they are not even open when most people need them ie after they finish work nor is there anything much that goes as public tranport after 6pm High Streets need to be small and adapt to a more leisure orientated market. Councils & police need to deal with the alcohol problem in the town centres at present they pretty much ignore it so it hardly encourages people to visit the High Street, To many charity shops is another issue as are the agressive charity chuggers Councilsdo not help neither as they tend to make High Streets unpleasant places to go to with very limited parking, high parking charges and sailly penalty charges

  • maxmin  |  December 20 2011, 8:35AM

    Unless councils stop this silly war against the motorist and the car, town centers will continue to decline. Scrap all the silly bus routes and closed off lanes, speed cameras, speed bumps, narrowed roads etc, clear all the **** off the road and let people - these are the beings that buy things from shops- get into town to shop. Llanelli is now surrounded by a ring of obstacles - the latest batch of speed bumps are now being mooted cutting off Llanelli from Burry Port- with the inevitable consequence that the town centre is now resembling a ghost town. Llanelli council recently announced, with much fanfare, free parking over Christmas to boost town center shopping - completely forgetting to mention that there are no longer any car parks - they've dug them all up.

  • SAswan  |  December 20 2011, 12:27AM

    pigeon droppings in the quadrant tunnel near shopmobility and side entrance to debenhams need to be scrapped up from the pavements. cant birds be stopped from nesting in the roof by putting barbed wire there ?

  • Julesbreadbox  |  December 19 2011, 9:54AM

    Why do all discussions have to end up in personal insults? Instead go through the points mentioned, make a pro and con list and really get down on the people in charge like a ton not of bricks but ideas.

  • geffodog  |  December 18 2011, 10:14AM

    abertawe jack sand dunes take thousands of years to develop,not just "a number of years" how can you say build a strip of hotels along/around one of the prettiest bays in the world,iv seen the bay of naples looking down from the hills around it,go up to the top of clyne golf course or even pantycelyn road on townhill and take a look at that view ofthe bay,and' head cases' like you want to rip up the dunes and put up a concrete jungle in its place,like some one else here said the hotels already here are not filled even in high summer i repeat,you are an idiot of the highest order

  • abertawejack  |  December 17 2011, 11:32PM

    geffodog: As your a Hypocrite you'll will never see the wood for the trees, no matter whats stated. get a life:

  • raywelsby  |  December 17 2011, 4:21PM

    I would like to respond firstly to Bob Evans 2011, I have not stated at any time that the Liberty Stadium does not belong to the people of Swansea in fact I have stated that the stadium was funded by the people of Swansea who are the main stakeholders, and the funding came from land assets that were sold off to offset the costs of the building, by doing this the taxpayers of Swansea were not lumbered with loans with interest rates. The council went into a management contract in 2004 which involved forming a board of directors with Swansea AFC, and the Osprey's.In 2005 the council realised that the management plan was not working as it should have.So the council changed one member of the council and replaced that person with another councillor and altered the management structure to make it viable, this is not the case. What I have been critical about is that Swansea council as received no money from the management company since 2004/5.The contract states that any profit made by the stadium management company is shared on a 33.03% between the above named three. What privately owned company would have a board of directors running a business that could not produce a dividend to its share holders after to of the partners are receiving funding from the FA and the WRU, and the taxpayers of Swansea see no revenue by way of a dividend. I do apologise if this offends yourself and the jagermeister but this council should realise that they are running a business on behalf of the people of Swansea and I would be pleased to sit down with either of you and discuss this face to face and listen to your pionts of view at the end of the day everyone has a write to vioce their opinion whether you agree with it or not.

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