Owner says shop is victim of ‘heavy discount competition’
THE owner of one of the shops shutting in Wells says that they are the victims of cut-price competition in the city.
Present Company in the Market Place will close in the middle of February after 24 years of trading.
Owner Alison Rickards said: “We’ve come to the end of our lease and don’t feel we can renew it.
“We’ve been affected by all the heavy discount competition that has come into town.
“Everybody loves a bargain. We’ve always been keen on price but we can’t compete with the likes of What! – or if it becomes Wilko – and The Works.”
Alison says it is a problem in Wells that she doesn’t face with her other shops in Sherborne and Wimborne, which are doing well.
“We have a good range and people like our range, but people’s shopping patterns have changed,” she said.
“Retailers are having a very hard time at the moment.
“We shall be very sad to leave Wells. It’s been a tough decision.”
Five people will lose their jobs as a result of the store closure.
The Intersport Tony Pryce store in Wells High Street will also close when the lease comes to an end in mid-March.
Owned by the Tony Pryce chain for about 10 years, it has been a sports shop for 29 years, and employs six staff.
Wells manager James Willmott says all of the Tony Pryce stores around the West Country are due to close as buying habits change.
“It’s the economic downturn affecting the whole business, it’s not sustainable any more,” he said.
“It’s the way the market is going, everyone seems to be purchasing online.
“It will be sad that there won’t be a sports shop in Wells.”
He added: “The price of the rents and rates don’t help small businesses in towns like this.”
The Cinnamon Corner arts and crafts shop in Priory Road has already shut its doors.
What! homeware store in High Street was due to close at the end of January.