The town fighting back against shop closures

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Harrogate: What happened when the shops left town

Cream teas, quaint streets and stylish shops have made Harrogate one of the most successful and popular shopping destinations in the north of England."Five years ago it would be unheard of to have large empty units on James Street, the prime shopping street in our town. Businesses were fighting to get into these units," says Robert Ogden, who jointly runs a family jewellery business on the street.

CVAs have become a controversial escape route for retailers as it allows them to close stores they no longer want. Since January 2018, 23 chains in Harrogate have done CVAs. "The cost of trading in Harrogate is quite high," Mr Ogden says."The rents are high, the rates are high and if footfall just drops off a fraction, it becomes less viable for these larger chains to trade from Harrogate.

"It was all very sudden," says letting agent Robin Hanson."They left and handed back the keys. It's an old Victorian building and the landlord was left with all the fixtures and fittings as well as repairs. It'll cost as much as a £100,000 to put right and re-let.""Rent and rates are very big overheads, so landlords are looking at having to reduce rents.

Carluccio's, the casual dining chain, did a CVA and pulled out. The company had signed a 25-year lease as it rapidly over-expanded.

 

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JamesFl Interesting how Harrogate is struggling. Side note are you named after James Street JamesFl

JamesFl An interesting read - I remember the days of Woolworths, that great indoor market at bottom of Victoria Shopping Centre, BHS.....

Out of town shopping centres, high rents are forcing closures in medium size towns. Again we are going the USA route where city centre is administrative centre & shopping malls/strips are out of town. nowayback

The internet is killing the high street. Millennials have grown with internet use and that’s how they will shop. Trying to revive the high street is a lost cause unfortunately.

Went to Harrogate a few years ago and 2 shops had queuing outside. Betty’s Tea Rooms & Greggs.

In Harrogate? I guess people just stayed disproportionately rich.

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