Optimism high in Wrexham as empty retail shops are filled

Reporter:

Claire Gallagher

RETAIL in Wrexham is on the up with more and more empty shops being filled.

A survey by the council’s economic development team has revealed that the number of empty shops has dropped from 10.9 per cent in August to 8.5 per cent in October.

And it looks like a positive picture for retail in the town despite harsh government cuts announced in the past few weeks.

Town centre manager Isobel Watson said: “A year ago it was feeling very dismal and hard work but now there is certainly a change of feeling.

“We are opening new premises all the time – it’s very exciting.

“We also hope to see an upturn for Christmas.”

A new store joining the town is Bubbles and Bows on Chester Street which is a pet supply and pet grooming shop.

A fashion shop called SuSu’s Jewellery and Prom Dresses on Yorke Street is having a grand opening on Saturday at 11am and brings with it 20 new jobs.

Other new shops to join Eagles Meadow include a men’s hair salon called Gozo and EBL Kitchens, both on St George’s Crescent.

A new tanning and beauty clinic has also opened in Chester Street.

Amanda Danielles offers sunbeds and beauty treatments including botox.

Owner Amanda Danielle Passerini, a former nurse, said: “I know the economic climate is not fantastic and Wrexham does have a lot of empty shops, but I’m going to do my best to make this work.”

Town centre project officer Colin Jones said: “There are so many new independent shops in the town which is good. It’s encouraging to see some of the vacant shops have been taken.”

But on Regent Street, Woolworths and Boots  remain empty units.

Eagles Meadow manager Kevin Critchley said he is pleased that 95 per cent of the centre is now occupied by retail.

“It’s fantastic – we have had a lot of activity and interest. I think the centre has also become more established in the region with shoppers coming from other areas like Chester, Whitchurch and Llangollen.

“Sales are a mixed bag with some shops doing well and others not so well.

“People are concerned about the future. We’re not immune to what is happening in the economy, but we are doing well and I’m confident about the future.”

Wrexham’s Chamber of Trade and Tourism has been running for about five months and members meet monthly to discuss how things are going in the town.

Chairman Stephanie Booth said: “Wrexham is beginning to punch above its weight now.

“We want exposure for the small businesses – we want to keep the vibrant, profitable small traders. It is these types of small businesses that make the town unique.”

Mrs Booth added that there was a lot going on in the town in preparation for the Year of Culture next year.

“There have been huge conversations about the future of the High Street and how to link one end to the other,” she said.

“We also want to turn Wrexham into a tourist destination.”

See full story in the Leader

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