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Carlisle menswear shop latest casualty of recession

An independent menswear shop in Carlisle has closed leaving two empty shop units and two office spaces on the same city centre street.

Image photo
Image, on Bank Street, Carlisle

Image Menswear, at 47 Bank Street, has shut after many years in business.

The property, now up for rent, is next door to the former Bloomsbury florist and cafe which closed last year.

Two other upper units at 33-35 and 49 Bank Street are also vacant. Letting agent Walton Goodland says these are suitable for office accommodation.

This week Julian Graves, a health food shop in The Lanes, closed down after the firm that owned it collapsed into administration.

But news for the High Street is not all doom and gloom.

Yesterday fashion retailer Jack & Jones opened in The Lanes.

The retailer has moved into the unit most recently occupied by the Disney Store in Peascod Lane.

And Carlisle department store Debenhams is undergoing a big refurbishment. Its Castle View restaurant is closed for alterations to take place.

It is the first major overhaul for Debenhams since it opened as part of an expansion of The Lanes 12 years ago.

As well as giving a new look to the store, the company says it will also bring in new brands, including Ted Baker lingerie, Nautica, Phase Eight, Urban Decay and Art Deco.

Joe Hendry, leader of Carlisle City Council, said: “It is a real tragedy to see independent shops closing but it seems that when one shop closes in Carlisle another opens. I do think that we’re holding our own and maybe turning a corner.

“I’m quite optimistic especially with the start of the Business Improvement District in the city. Everyone needs to work together and support each other.”

The Debenhams’ restaurant is due to reopen to the public next Saturday and is offering customers 20 per cent off their bill – upon the presentation of one of its vouchers.

The restaurant is also hosting an Eden Valley Hospice charity day on Saturday, August 25, with 20 per cent of the cafe’s takings being donated to the hospice.

A store spokeswoman said: “Expect fun, excitement and entertainment, with a special guest appearance from the hospice’s very own Hospuss. This promises to be a great day out for all of the family.”

The store’s cosmetics department is also undergoing a change.

Debenhams, which also has a store in Workington, hopes the revamp will bring more customers through its doors.

Have your say

It is a hard truth - but if we do not shop at and support these independent shops (or any local business for that matter) they will close.

Posted by Geoff on 31 July 2012 at 23:28

Thank goodness for some intelligent comments by Jim and Oliver.

Business rates. It's really hard to find exactly what a shop pays, but a typical single town centre shop may have a ratable value of roughly £12,000. The multiplier in 2010-11 was 41.1p in the pound, so let's guess 50p now (if you know accurate figures, please say.) So a 'typical' shop might pay very roughly £6,000 a year in business rates. Ball park figure, as they say.

There are roughly 300 days a year when shops are open, not including Sundays and Public Holidays.

Some correspondents have suggested a 50% rates remission for small businesses. So our shop would pay £6,000 over 300 days. That's £20 a day.

I find it impossible to believe that this shop was so close to trading while insolvent that it would have remained in business if one more 'designer t-shirt' a day was sold. Any shop trading that close to the break-even point is simply delaying the inevitable. Blaming business rates is simply an easy excuse for a business model that was, is and always would be fatally flawed - they were selling items at a price that consumers would not pay.

Business rates do not cripple businesses. Lack of consumer demand does. Simples :)

Posted by Chris on 31 July 2012 at 20:11

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