Custom down by half, says Newport charity shop boss

South Wales Argus: British Heart Foundation volunteer Miriam Masefield outside the shop in Upper Dock Street which is suffering from a lack of footfall due to the redevelopment of the area (3428666) British Heart Foundation volunteer Miriam Masefield outside the shop in Upper Dock Street which is suffering from a lack of footfall due to the redevelopment of the area (3428666)

THE manager of a Newport charity shop says she has seen a 50 per cent decrease in the number of customers visiting since the regeneration of the city centre began.

Last week the Argus reported shopkeepers in Austin Friars, Newport, have hit out at the council for “a lack of help” following the start of demolition work to make way for the recently-approved Friars Walk.

Businesses in the area say they have seen their footfall and profits dip since demolition work began and they are unhappy at the time it took the council to put signs up directing people to the area.

Barbara Pryce, of the British Heart Foundation shop on Upper Dock Street, says she has seen an almost 50 per cent decrease in the amount of customers in the shop.

She is now appealing to people to get behind the annual Valentine’s appeal to raise much-needed money for the charity and the store.

She said: “It’s atrocious. Because people don’t walk past to get to the bus station anymore and we are just not seeing the custom.

“This is one of the oldest charity shops in Newport, and we are trying to raise as much money as we can. I’ve been working in this shop for 10 years and I’ve never seen so few customers. It’s almost 50 per cent less.

“It doesn’t help we’ve got no shops on either side or opposite – people are not walking by so they are not popping in. We are quite isolated.

“We need a lot of help to keep raising money and this redevelopment is seriously affecting business. People are either going into town a different way by the new bus station or they are just going straight to Cwmbran for their shopping.”

Shop assistant Miriam Masefield said: “I think a lot of people don’t realise we are open because of where we are situated – apart from Potter’s we are the only ones open here.”

The shop is holding its Valentine’s appeal and hopes businesses and people will support it. From £1 to £50, people can fill in hearts for the window display and the money will go towards training specialist nurses.

A Newport council spokesman said: “Friars Street, Austin Friars, Corn Street and Llanarth Street – as well as those parts of John Frost Square and Upper Dock Street not part of the redevelopment area are still accessible from Commercial Street.”

Comments (3)

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8:31pm Wed 15 Jan 14

scraptheWAG says...

to get any decent trade in this run down town you have to be next to the benefits office
to get any decent trade in this run down town you have to be next to the benefits office scraptheWAG
  • Score: 4

10:19pm Wed 15 Jan 14

varteg1 says...

It is over thirty years since the Argus.Free Press published my letter about the scandal of rates, that along with ever rising rents were driving business from the high streets of Britain,( go editor, trawl your archives, and re publish that letter.)
My comments were relevant then just as they remain relevant today.

National chains in buying up large retail spaces in our high streets 'persuaded' the owners of local property to raise their rents and lease fees and it was almost a natural consequence that Councils hone in on the feeding frenzy, as they raised rates to match.

The corporeal body of the retail sector has only so much flesh to gorge on, and now it is more of less down to the skeletal remains, is it any wonder retailers give up in ranks of despair, coupled to bankruptcies, taking big, medium and small along for the ride?

Government, in Westminster, Cardiff, and the town halls, have fleeced us all for decades, now is the time we should be reclaiming the moral ground and letting them all know we have had enough.
It is over thirty years since the Argus.Free Press published my letter about the scandal of rates, that along with ever rising rents were driving business from the high streets of Britain,( go editor, trawl your archives, and re publish that letter.) My comments were relevant then just as they remain relevant today. National chains in buying up large retail spaces in our high streets 'persuaded' the owners of local property to raise their rents and lease fees and it was almost a natural consequence that Councils hone in on the feeding frenzy, as they raised rates to match. The corporeal body of the retail sector has only so much flesh to gorge on, and now it is more of less down to the skeletal remains, is it any wonder retailers give up in ranks of despair, coupled to bankruptcies, taking big, medium and small along for the ride? Government, in Westminster, Cardiff, and the town halls, have fleeced us all for decades, now is the time we should be reclaiming the moral ground and letting them all know we have had enough. varteg1
  • Score: 4

7:58am Thu 16 Jan 14

localtrader2 says...

As a small retailer in Newport, I fully agree with Barbara Price. For most small retailers that are not situated on the main Commercial Street trade has been really bad. The signage has been disgusting and does not help at all. A book shop owner recently published how is business was struggling and locals rallied. Message to all every shop in Newport is suffering and needs this type of support. If the people of his town can do it why can't the people of our City. I know many people rely on the small shops that often sell goods that no major trader does and at great prices with personalised service.
As a small retailer in Newport, I fully agree with Barbara Price. For most small retailers that are not situated on the main Commercial Street trade has been really bad. The signage has been disgusting and does not help at all. A book shop owner recently published how is business was struggling and locals rallied. Message to all every shop in Newport is suffering and needs this type of support. If the people of his town can do it why can't the people of our City. I know many people rely on the small shops that often sell goods that no major trader does and at great prices with personalised service. localtrader2
  • Score: 0

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