Shops joy for town

NDET 95053'Stock - Chesterfield Town Centre shoppers
NDET 95053'Stock - Chesterfield Town Centre shoppers

COUNCIL chiefs and business leaders have welcomed new data showing just one in ten shops in Chesterfield is lying empty.

National think-tank the Local Data Company (LDC) has revealed only 10.3 per cent of town centre stores were vacant at the end of last year, compared to a national average of 14.3 per cent.

Chesterfield ranks just below a number of top shopping hotspots including York, where only 9.7 per cent of shops are empty.

Stockport is bottom of the LDC’s list with a 30.1 per cent vacancy rate.

Cllr John Burrows, leader of Chesterfield Borough Council, said: “I’m very pleased with this fantastic news.

“Chesterfield is a thriving town and on the up despite tough economic times – and these figures confirm that.”

George Cowcher, chief executive of Derbyshire chamber of commerce, praised Chesterfield for being “vibrant and diverse”.

He said: “Much like York, Chesterfield is a medieval market town and has built on that identity over the years to ensure it is an attractive retail destination.

“The thing that Chesterfield does extremely well is to balance the number of big national retailers it has against its array of smaller, independent stores.”

However, Mr Cowcher warned that trading conditions will remain “challenging” for retailers in 2012.

He added: “Many retailers will have to contend with falling disposable incomes, increased online shopping spend and the ongoing trend of high street retailers running their leases down and then relocating to out-of-town premises or retail parks.

“Long term, that may result in an increase in town centre offices and even residential properties where shops used to be.”

l What do you make of the shops in our towns? Email comment@derbyshiretimes.co.uk.

michael.broomhead

@derbyshiretimes.co.uk