In another blow to Littlehampton’s town centre retailing, troubled high street retailer Morissons are closing their town centre store.
‘To Let’ boards have now gone up on the front of the property and when I spoke to the agents they said the Littlehampton branch was due to close on 31st May 2015.
It’s unclear what will happen to the store’s employees. Hopefully, they can be relocated to Morrisons large superstore located in Wick, Littlehampton.
Morrissons Littlehampton town centre shop, which was opened in October 2013 by then Mayor Joyce Bower is being closed as part of a major restructuring following the company’s losses which have now soared to over £800m and has seen a boardroom cull like no other.
One of the main objectors when Morrissons applied for planning permission to build their Wick superstore was Waitrose, which ironically has also announced it will be closing its Littlehampton store and moving to Rustington.
It’s not clear if any other retailer has an interest in the old Waitrose building, but rumour has it that Aldi may be a possibility.
In any event, Arun District Council’s previous over-reliance on granting planning permissions to as many supermarkets as possible to build new stores the size of small towns, has finally come home to roost. Having all but wiped out the small independents, they’re not turning on each other.
Ultimately, there can be no long term winners in these supermarket wars.
At the time of Morrissons Wick superstore application being made Arun District Council officers concluded in their report that “‘there is no clear evidence that the proposal will lead to significant adverse impacts on Wick or Littlehampton town centre.”
Waitrose objected to Arun granting planning permission to Morrissons.
Waitrose are now leaving the town.
So are Morrissons.
Littlehampton town centre can ill-afford to loose high profile, quality retailers – especially Waitrose.
To rent Morrisson’s soon to be vacant Littlehampton store, it will cost you £29,000 a year and you’ll have to pay £14,000 in business rates to Arun District Council. You’ll also be responsible for maintaining and insuring the building and you’ll face regular ‘upward only’ rent reviews.
We don’t need Mary Portas to tell us why our high streets are stuffed.
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