Croydon has suffered the worst rate of retail store closures in the whole of London, the BBC is reporting.
BBC London accessed the figures from a nationwide survey on retail trends for the first six months of 2012. The worrying thing for Croydon is that the rate of closures in the borough appears to have accelerated since June.
Allders, JJB and Starbucks have pulled down their shutters in Croydon for a final time in the past two months alone, with the closure of the 150-year-old department store seeing more than 800 people losing their jobs.
The continuing collapse of Croydon’s high street retail offer will raise further doubts over the wisdom of the council’s various masterplan strategies – all heavily dependent on retailing – as the borough becomes a by-word for failure and poor public services. Today’s report is the third by the BBC in a fortnight that shows Croydon in a less than glowing light.
Apparently undeterred, rival shopping mall developers Westfield and Hammerson have submitted competing plans for a £1 billion redevelopment of the Whitgift Centre in central Croydon, with planning decisions expected in coming months but few hard details yet available over commitments by retailers to occupy the schemes if they are ever completed.
The information on retail trends comes from leading retail data analyst organisation the Local Data Company (LDC), which has put together a report on behalf of PwC.
London overall has seen 587 store closures and 503 openings in the last 12 months, a net loss of 84.
The report shows that across the UK, toy shops, clothes shops, jewellers, cards and poster shops and furniture stores all falling in numbers. The growth areas, so readily observable in Croydon, are payday loans, pawnbrokers, discount stores, convenience stores, bookmakers, bureaux de change and charity shops.
BBC London’s analysis of the figures suggested that more shops in Croydon had closed than in any other part of the capital, as 20 stores close each day across the country.
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It is a real shame what has happened to retail in the centre of Croydon. This is confirmation of the death spiral that has occurred and the strategy of the local authority to place the future of development into the hands of big property developers has failed miserably. Do you think the administration will accept any responsibility for what is happening? What do you think?