High Street shops boost

Worcester News: COMING SOON: Subtone, a photography businesses. COMING SOON: Subtone, a photography businesses.

A TRIO of high quality shops businesses could reinvigorate Worcester’s struggling High Street and drag the city out of the doldrums, say traders.

Fashionable country clothing company Joules is to open at the former Jessops shop on the corner of Copenhagen Street and the High Street within weeks say Worcester BID.

Next door, Casablanca wine bar is expected to open to the public this Saturday following a VIP launch on Friday. Subtone, a photography business in the same street, opened three weeks ago.

All three units had been empty and it is hoped the boost will provide hope to the High Street after one struggling trader, Richard Carter of Trinity Pet and Gardens, complained the city was becoming “a ghost town”.

Kitchenware company Lakeland in St Swithin’s Street will depart the city, moving to Webbs Garden Centre in Wychbold, near Droitwich in the new year. But the opening of the new shops provides a ray of hope against a backdrop of doom and gloom.

Joules offers a range of high class, colourful outdoor clothing, including tweed coats, resin jackets, waistcoats and dresses.

Casablanca will be a wine bar with a classic movies theme, established by businesses partners, self-confsessed film buff Mark Sharpe and Karim Boutaib of Karimark entertainment.

The wine bar, named after the movie of the same name, will have 17 wines from across the world with a television displaying classic films with a theme described by Mr Sharpe as “Film Noir meets the Rat Pack”. Mr Boutaib is already an established businessman in the city, managing Asilah Lounge, a Moroccan restaurant and Tapas bar just around the corner on the High Street.

David Lloyd-Rumens, studio director and photographer of Subtone, Copenhagen Street said: “We have had bookings and quite a few in. We have been relatively busy. I have a loyal customer base anyway and most of my business work is by recommendation. I don’t have to rely too much on footfall. Word of mouth recommendations retain repeat customers.”

Adrian Field, Business Improvement District (BID) manager in Worcester, said: “Three empty units looking down at heel are being replaced with three high quality businesses. That part of town is looking a lot more upmarket. It’s still tough out there.”

Concern was expressed by readers about the future of Worcester High Street online. Mrwrighty said: “Out of town developments are killing off the city centres. You can park for free for starters. The new development in Sherriff Street is not going to help either. Our council needs a cohesive plan to help shops in the centre.”

David350uk said: “Unless they provide free parking we can soon kiss goodbye to high street shops.”

Brooksider said: “Why should we taxpayers subsidise failing businesses who won’t help themselves?”

Comments (9)

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8:13am Tue 24 Sep 13

wr5resident2 says...

I shall miss Lakeland. I often used to pop in and end up buying something. Soon it will involve a special trip up the motorway.
I shall miss Lakeland. I often used to pop in and end up buying something. Soon it will involve a special trip up the motorway. wr5resident2

9:12am Tue 24 Sep 13

New Kid on the Block says...

Lakeland are moving to Webbs so called Garden Centre.
As time goes on it is less and less of a Garden Centre and more of an out of town shopping mall. On their website it even says "Webbs, Lifestyle, Gardening, Leisure. So it seems that the Garden Centre part of the business now plays second fiddle to "lifestyle"
How long before they have to apply for planning permission for change of use? Or can they sneak through by changing bit at a time?
Lakeland are moving to Webbs so called Garden Centre. As time goes on it is less and less of a Garden Centre and more of an out of town shopping mall. On their website it even says "Webbs, Lifestyle, Gardening, Leisure. So it seems that the Garden Centre part of the business now plays second fiddle to "lifestyle" How long before they have to apply for planning permission for change of use? Or can they sneak through by changing bit at a time? New Kid on the Block

10:17am Tue 24 Sep 13

Maggie Would says...

I love Joules. Shops like that are why I go to Cheltenham. That is the sort of thing we want to attract shoppers here instead.
I love Joules. Shops like that are why I go to Cheltenham. That is the sort of thing we want to attract shoppers here instead. Maggie Would

1:02pm Tue 24 Sep 13

Hwicce says...

I used to buy stuff from Lakeland but can't see me going up the motorway to them when they move.

Don't have a use for a photo studio, Joules is too expensive for my tastes, haven't been to a wine bar in years.

So one going that I did shop at, three coming in that I won't be shopping at. Looks like the footfall in Worcester is going to continue it's downward trend.
I used to buy stuff from Lakeland but can't see me going up the motorway to them when they move. Don't have a use for a photo studio, Joules is too expensive for my tastes, haven't been to a wine bar in years. So one going that I did shop at, three coming in that I won't be shopping at. Looks like the footfall in Worcester is going to continue it's downward trend. Hwicce

1:08pm Tue 24 Sep 13

CJH says...

Easier to buy online from Lakeland. Delivery charge probably the same as paying for parking in Worcester. New story this morning is that you can now buy from selected e-bay traders and collect from Argos. (For me that would be Argos at Malvern or Blackpole - not Worcester city where you have to pay to park then lug whatever you've bought back to the car/bus). The internet is not going away any time soon!
Easier to buy online from Lakeland. Delivery charge probably the same as paying for parking in Worcester. New story this morning is that you can now buy from selected e-bay traders and collect from Argos. (For me that would be Argos at Malvern or Blackpole - not Worcester city where you have to pay to park then lug whatever you've bought back to the car/bus). The internet is not going away any time soon! CJH

1:08pm Tue 24 Sep 13

Hwicce says...

On a positive note for a Worcester retailer...

I wanted some camping goods yesterday, I had a look online for the going rate for the product and then went into Worcester lokiing for it. Mountain Warehouse stocked it at a little over what I could get it for at an out of town retailer but because they offered me an extra 10% off due to being involved with a youth organisation they came in cheaper. So I bought it, well two in fact.

So there you have it Worcester shops, if you have the product and your price is competative people will buy from you. Not difficult really.
On a positive note for a Worcester retailer... I wanted some camping goods yesterday, I had a look online for the going rate for the product and then went into Worcester lokiing for it. Mountain Warehouse stocked it at a little over what I could get it for at an out of town retailer but because they offered me an extra 10% off due to being involved with a youth organisation they came in cheaper. So I bought it, well two in fact. So there you have it Worcester shops, if you have the product and your price is competative people will buy from you. Not difficult really. Hwicce

1:25pm Tue 24 Sep 13

moatler says...

Lakeland's must have been a commercial decision - presumably if there had been enough sales to make it viable they'd be staying in Worcester and opening at Webbs? I just don't think Worcester is enough of a 'destination' to pull shoppers in, more shops like Joules will change that hopefully as commented above. Anyone for a branch of the Gap?
Lakeland's must have been a commercial decision - presumably if there had been enough sales to make it viable they'd be staying in Worcester and opening at Webbs? I just don't think Worcester is enough of a 'destination' to pull shoppers in, more shops like Joules will change that hopefully as commented above. Anyone for a branch of the Gap? moatler

1:47pm Tue 24 Sep 13

Samboy says...

I see that Webbs are building another extension. The attraction of Webbs is that it has so many sections devoted to just the same market that would attract Lakeland customers, so sympathetic shopping under one roof with free parking on the doorstep and staff to to fetch and carry for you. What a nice way to 'go out for a coffee', especially with Christmas looming. I can offer no solution to encourage in -town shopping, I am sorry to say.
I see that Webbs are building another extension. The attraction of Webbs is that it has so many sections devoted to just the same market that would attract Lakeland customers, so sympathetic shopping under one roof with free parking on the doorstep and staff to to fetch and carry for you. What a nice way to 'go out for a coffee', especially with Christmas looming. I can offer no solution to encourage in -town shopping, I am sorry to say. Samboy

9:12pm Wed 25 Sep 13

Brummagem Bertie says...

wr5resident2 wrote:
I shall miss Lakeland. I often used to pop in and end up buying something. Soon it will involve a special trip up the motorway.
Whenever we came to Worcester, we used to go into Lakeland and often ended up buying something, usually something we didn't know we wanted!

Like Hwicce, we won't be making regular trips to Webbs. If I want to go out for a coffee I prefer to support one of a number of excellent independent coffee shops in Worcester, rather than make a special trip to Wychbold.

I actually like Worcester as a city centre: if you want to see a really depressing City Centre take a trip to Walsall or West Brom.
[quote][p][bold]wr5resident2[/bold] wrote: I shall miss Lakeland. I often used to pop in and end up buying something. Soon it will involve a special trip up the motorway.[/p][/quote]Whenever we came to Worcester, we used to go into Lakeland and often ended up buying something, usually something we didn't know we wanted! Like Hwicce, we won't be making regular trips to Webbs. If I want to go out for a coffee I prefer to support one of a number of excellent independent coffee shops in Worcester, rather than make a special trip to Wychbold. I actually like Worcester as a city centre: if you want to see a really depressing City Centre take a trip to Walsall or West Brom. Brummagem Bertie

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