Development bosses stress help’s at hand

Boxing Day sales pulled in shoppers but there are still worries for the future
Boxing Day sales pulled in shoppers but there are still worries for the future

AS the Christmas rush dies down retailers are gearing up to face a tough year.

Despite the rise in online shopping people in Falkirk still love the hustle and bustle of the festive sales with bargain hunters flocking to the stores on Boxing Day in huge numbers for cheap deals.

The Next store in Central Retail Park had to operate on a ten-in, ten-out door policy as people queued to get in before its 6 a.m. opening time.

Keen shopper Amanda Donaldson (30), who queued up for the Next sale, said: “I was up at 4 a.m. on Boxing Day for the Next sale.

“I do it every year and love it because you get in first and get the pick of the bargains. I usually spend whatever vouchers I get and sometimes buy presents for next year too.

“I bought a lot of clothes because there was 50 per cent off a lot of things, but I got some stuff for the house too. It’s worth doing it once a year to get the bargains. It’s like a part of Christmas for me now.”

However, while sales have been reported as good over the festive period, it’s estimated that 2013 will be another extremely difficult year on the high street for many stores.

The Centre for Retail Research say 140 big name retailers are on on a ‘critical’ list of companies who might not make it to the end of the year.

Many jobs have already been lost in Falkirk’s town centre with large firms like JJB, Clinton Cards, Comet and Game closing alongside many of smaller local stores.

Another major company causing concern in the business world is HMV which has a store in the Howgate shopping centre.

Doulgas Duff, Falkirk Council’s head of economic development and environmental services, said: “The council is keen to support town centre businesses and works closely with the Falkirk BID to promote and improve the town centre.

“The works to regenerate the churchyard and to put in place new town centre signage have been very well-received and in 2012 we were successful in a first phase bid for £2 million of Heritage Lottery Funding support to improve the historical core of the town centre.

“Retail businesses can also tap into the support on offer from our growth and investment unit, who will be offering Mary Portas style training for retailers in the coming weeks.”