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Two High Street stores close in Basildon
7:00am Wednesday 16th January 2013 in Echo News
THE manager of a shop that closed down Basildon yesterday launched a scathing put down on the town after claiming the store only managed to claw in £2,000 of profit in almost a year.
Artwork store Inside Out was forced to shut its Town Square outlet yesterday because of poor trade, and Priceless Shoes, which is based on the same precinct, will follow suit at the end of the month.
The closures have called into question the viability of council’s masterplan for Basildon, which sets out ambitious plans to transform the town centre and attract dozens of new businesses.
Gurram Mallareddy, manager of Inside Out, said: “No-one is earning any money in Basildon because people don’t have jobs here.
“The shop has made just £2,000 profit in the 10 months that we’ve been open.
“We did a lot of preparation for Christmas but it was totally disappointing. We opened up early and put on a load of promotion but we just didn’t get many customers through the doors.
“We’ve been trading pretty poorly since we opened; we get people coming in here saying that our stuff is too expensive.”
Staff at Priceless Shoes told the Echo the store will close on January 26, but would not comment further.
The paper put a call into the chain’s head office for a statement but received no reply.
While bosses at the town’s Eastgate Centre boasted that business was booming for the precinct over Christmas and New Year, it seems outside traders are struggling.
Last month, the council rubber-stamped its ambitious masterplan for Basildon, outlining several ambitious projects over the next two decades.
By 2017, the council wants a cinema, bars, cafes, and restaurants in the town to create a nighttime economy.
But Labour councillor Pat Rackley, who represents the St. Martin’s Ward the town centre is based in, said she had reservations about the council’s masterplan.
She said: “There are a number of units empty outside the Eastgate and they are not being filled. Businesses aren’t going there because of the current climate.
“It’s great that they want to regenerate the town centre but when the market gets moved my concern is whether shops actually are the future.
“In 20 years time I don’t think we will have many shops and the majority of shopping will be done online.
“It’s always very sad when shops close down, and we’ve also lost Jessops too.
"The town centre seemed very quiet during the Christmas period – people are just buying what they need.”