Two Diss shops facing closure
Matthew SparkesTwo independent stores in Diss are being forced to close down in the New Year as recession-hit shoppers continue to slash their budgets.Fair trade clothing and craft shop Blue Moon, on St Nicholas Street, and fashion retailer Tigertail in Norfolk House Yard are both in the process of clearing stock and winding down.Matthew Sparkes
Two independent stores in Diss are being forced to close down in the new year as recession-hit shoppers slash their budgets.
Fair trade clothing and craft shop Blue Moon, on St Nicholas Street, and fashion retailer Tigertail in Norfolk House Yard are both in the process of clearing stock and winding down.
Tigertail owner Camilla Nowell said she hoped to remain open until the end of February and would retain her two part-time staff until then.
She blames the closure on falling sales and said that the shop, which opened in March 2007, is "just not working".
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"Our Christmas trade was down 60pc on last year and there's just no way we can carry on," she said.
"It's not that we haven't had people coming in, they've just not been spending money."
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Nearby Blue Moon is set to close even sooner, after a sale that will last throughout January to clear current stock.
Julie Reynolds, owner of the shop, said that the closures will "leave Diss with charity shops and estate agents".
She added: "This year's been particularly bad, sales-wise.
"I'm paying the rent, but I'm paying it out of my own pocket."
The shop opened over three years ago and currently employs one part-time member of staff, who works one day per week.
Mrs Reynolds said that high rents for shops in Diss, which can cost up to �16,000 per year, have been to blame for many closures.
Jenna Cox, of the Diss Business Forum, said that independent businesses were struggling with growing costs.
"The rates per capita are higher than almost anywhere in the area and that's frightening," she said.
"Until Diss becomes more than the best-kept secret for hidden treasures we will see more of this."
A third shop in Diss is also to become vacant, although the business will move to new premises in the town.
Hardware shop Albright's, which has been run by Mr and Mrs Rowe since 1986, is in the process of relocating to the empty shop that was once Baby Den.
The landlords of the current building, the Diss Quakers, are currently considering their options for the building.
Diss has seen a number of national and independent stores leave over the last year including Amity's Florist, Woolworths, Subway, Thresher and Footloose 'n' Funnybones.