Retail unit closures up and footfall down in Windsor and Eton

Retail unit closures up and footfall down in Windsor and Eton

Justin Burns

Retail unit closures up and footfall down in Windsor and Eton
Upper Peascod Street has been the worst hit

More than 44 retail units are gathering dust in Windsor and Eton town centres with the normally resilient upper Peascod Street suffering most.

Figures released show 10-11 per cent of the 440 shop spaces are empty, up from nine per cent in March last year.

The number vacant is below the national average of 15-16 per cent.

Footfall has also plunged with the number of people shopping in January dropping by 6.5 per cent compared to 2012 and falling by 2.1 per cent in February.

Use of the town's car parks has also tumbled by 10 per cent compared to last year, but use of the coach park in Alma Road is up.

Windsor and Eton town centre manager Paul Roach said the area has had a 'slow start' to the year and 'everybody is having a tough time'.

"In all my years it is the hardest it has ever been," he said.

Speaking of the closures, he added: "We are aware there are likely to be more in the coming months and a number of empty units appearing in some of our main trading areas of the town centre."

He pointed to the tough economic climate, while retailers say customers are spending less, want more value for money and are shopping online instead.

Mr Roach said the biggest concern was previously 'bullet-proof' upper Peascod Street, where two or three years ago if units were empty they were snapped up in a flash.

Retailers closing in Windsor's main shopping street have included independents Kitchen Kapers and Tigers Eye, and chains Clinton Cards, Monsoon and HMV, with Millets set to shut soon.

He said there had been interest in some spots, while he and business leaders are looking at new initiatives to get more businesses to open.

Mr Roach said they are working on exploring opportunities of a pop-up shop concept to fill units and boost footfall.

He said: "There are opportunities, but we have to come together and open our doors and hope people come in."

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