Retail strategy launched to help boost sector

EMPLOYING a Town centre manager, cracking down on parking clock offenders, and moving the taxi rank to North Beach are proposals contained in a new retail strategy for the island.

EMPLOYING a Town centre manager, cracking down on parking clock offenders, and moving the taxi rank to North Beach are proposals contained in a new retail strategy for the island.

The document, put forward by Commerce and Employment’s Guernsey Retail Strategy Group, also recommends provision for new retail developments in Town and improvements to pedestrian linkages between parking areas, its pavements and signage.

Group chair Tony Rowbotham, Montagu Evans Channel Islands managing director, said its members were very positive about Guernsey retail.

‘The sector has challenges of course, but that’s true of retail the world over,’ he said.

‘There is a great deal about retail in Guernsey – and central St Peter Port in particular – that is very positive, so the group’s approach is based on improving retail for shoppers, retailers themselves and the general island community.’

While encouraging the enhancement of Town and the Bridge, the report has advised against over-development or local centres.

Comments for: "Retail strategy launched to help boost sector"

Annie

All of which would be pointless if paid parking was brought in.

Terry Langlois

how many times do people have to say it? - IF paid parking is brought in it will not apply to short term "shopper" spaces.

markB

Not apply to Short term for how long Terry? ..once the States get the grubby little hands on parking money they'll want more.

Terry Langlois

surely even the most hardened cynic is not going to think that the States will want to take action that kills off trade in Town.

they really are not that stupid.

but of course, this is TIG, where anyone attributing an ounce of common sense to the States is instantly branded a lunatic.

John

Exactly. And the couple of hours free parking will rapidly be reduced to one and then quickly none.

The excuses will be what we already know. It costs so much to police and collect the revenue the States are left with no other choice but to increase costs so it's not a loss making exercise.

At a time when other places are reverting back to free parking we are looking into making the same unworkable mistakes. It creates hostility and bitterness wherever it's enforced. Goodwill is lost and it's something that takes a long time to restore.

I say forget about this madness once and for all.

Election Issues

Once the Environment Department gets paid parking through the States on the pretence of providing a free bus service......there will be no stopping them....island wide before we know it!

BadDonkey

Terry Langlois , although It would be nice to appreciate your point. Some would struggle to believe it. We will wait and see .

BadDonkey

totally agree Annie. Paid Parking would finish off the struggling town trading.

bob

Why does jack keep having the french market over if the local shops need help

Jonno

i was thinking of setting up a stall in the Normandy market selling Guernsey produce, cheese., cider, crab and the like. I mean Guernsey is technically or geographically part of Normandy. How about it Jack?

Karen

And why are they installed on North Beach taking up half the valuable short-term parking spaces in the lead up to Christmas that the shoppers actually looking to support the town shops would like to park in?

Surely it would make more sense to put the Normandy markets up in the empty square outside the 'market' (oh the irony!) buildings.

Nigel

Totally agree with the sentiments on this subject. Why are we doing this? Allowing French retailers to come over and take our business with virtually no cost other than their travel expenses to pay for (they pay a pathetic pitch rental I believe). Provided at the expense of the Guernsey Taxpayer and the loss of valuable shoppers parking spaces to further damage Town businesses. They pay no tax or business rates? It is absolutely farcical that we are allowing this to happen. Can you imagine if 20 Guernsey businesses went and set up in the middle of any Normandy town centre? There would surely be riots by the French, the stalls would be set on fire and the port blockaded as the French would simply never allow it to happen, and neither should we. We must stop this pillaging of Guernsey business without delay?

ps: I was told that a significant qty of expensive French Brandy Liqueur tends to come over with them, which allegedly helps to oil the corporate wheels, but don't know for sure if this is true or not!

Unhappy Shopper

I tried to do some gift shopping in Town last Friday afternoon. I came home with only 20% of my intended purchases.

I regret to say, it was not a pleasurable experience - largely because I was generally met with the now all too frequent responses such as "if it's not on the shelf, we haven't got it"; beginning to serve me then answering phone and dealing with caller and not me; we have sold out....no attempt to take an order or suggest an alternative; yes we have one, but we can't show you one out of the box (PC tablet - the asking price of which was £10.99 more than from a high-street shop in Poole, including VAT). One assistant (a Latvian or Polish lass I think) went out of her way to be really helpful, by not hesitating to go and have a search in the back store room - and yes, she found just what I needed - sale made!

Whenever possible I do try to support local shops, it's in all our interests to do so, but I do feel that businesses need to sharpen up their act and get to grips with staff training.

From what I hear, some landlords in St Peter Port are not helping traders by charging unreasonable rents - a case of cutting one's nose off ..... etc etc., but this should not be the cause of poor or rude service.

Oh. by the way, things didn't change on the bus home the driver must have been trained at the same charm-school as some of the shop-assistants!

limeyrock

The unreasonable rents drive most of the problems you highlight, including the bad service.

The ridiculous leases mean that shops have tighter budgets. This means they can't afford to hold as much stock, and when they can afford it they only have meagre space to even store it. It also means that they can't afford to pay their employees as much, which means they may have to accept a lower standard of worker. Training costs money, too.

Martino

Not at all Annie. In fact the best way to stop parking clock cheats would be to have pay parking with a barrier system at North Beach just as they do at the airport.

Beanjar

Would that be the same airport car park which (allegedly) allows anybody working there to park FOC, even when they fly off on holiday?

Seeker

Good, it's needed but I wonder if this document will be made public?

Yvonne Burford

Hi Seeker

here it is: http://gov.gg/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=85305&p=0

As an aside, I wonder if the Press could publish links to documents where appropriate in their headline story on TIG?

simon

Its not broken, so lets fix it! One thing for certain, they will make things worse not better........ why do we so feel the need to meddle with things ? seriously is all they thing is wrong is the taxi rank is in the wrong place and the parking clocks are being run overtime..... and we need to employ a manager for that yea!! PB FALLA over to you!

Luke A

Here's a suggestion for a retail strategy:

Opening hours for shops of 10am-6pm or 11am-7pm.

Reduces traffic congestion in the mornings and evenings, as fewer people need to get to work for 9am.

Increases the number of people who can actually shop, as people can go after work rather than trying to fit everything into their lunchtime.

Suddenly people can actually go shopping!

limeyrock

Sorry, this makes far too much sense to catch on, like starting all the schools half an hour earlier to split the traffic.

Martino

Good idea but at the end of the day the shops must be given the freedom of choice to open and close when they want - and that means open any time on Sunday too.

crapaud

From your posts, I presume you do not work and have never been in retail.

Jonathan

Shop rents are far too high, as already said above.

Until that is addressed there is unlikely to be an improvement.

Why is the shop near Dix Neuf still empty after how many months and years? You only have to check the rent being asked for to realize that there isn't a business that can pay this, plus all the other overheads, and then make a profit.

I love St Peter Port, including the Old Quarter, but the rents being asked for are way too high.

Jonno

This isba redvherring. You could say the same about Oxford street, london and all sorts of places where tenants might complain along the same lines. It's an age old argument that isn't the core problem. Most rents are agreed by open market valuation by independent valuers.

Election Issues

London is buzzing at the moment...packed with shoppers! Frost Fairs with stalls and ice rinks. Oxford Street is jam packed each and every day. The Christmassy atmosphere gets everyone spending their money!

In Guernsey we are talking about paid parking, moving the taxi rank to North Beach...probably to take away valuable spaces, cracking down on parking clock offenders and employing a town centre manager! Talk about a feel good Christmassy atmosphere!

Election Issues

Montagu Evans?

They provide advice on all aspects of the development process and utilise the skills of their London office....who are recognised as one of the UK's leading firms of planning consultants.

It is so depressing............

Firestorm

Retail strategy really ??? well when you have stopped messing around and wasting money you may want to get down to the real issues. first the extortionate rents charged thus the retailer having to charge very high prices or sell more. Well they wont sell more as its an island with limited population and a few tourists. So your left with high price. example bought 3 items from UK online inc vat and shipping total cost £24.89. Local price between £70 - £80. Before anyone says they were cheap rubbish no 2 of the 3 were the same items bought here. The next thing is the shipping cost into the island which again is very high (I think we all have all run into this one at one time they have you by the short and curly's living on an island) again pushing up the retail price. The last thing is the good old parking. The fact is its a tiny island with just to many cars and often very big cars at that. Paid parking wont do much apart from maybe pushing up prices in shops so retailers can now cover parking expenses Along with driving even more shoppers out of town. I myself probably do 80% of my shopping online or when I am off island I would support local retailers and I would pay more as I understand its an island but often the the price difference is just to much. I have also run retail units so I know for a fact that its the ridiculously high rents that are killing many shops and shopping. So you can skate around all the real issues, have all the car free zones, paid parking,banners,statues,signs and any other stupid ideas you can come up with but if you dont address the real issues nothing will change.

Guern

Close off Church Square, put tables in and have a nice cafe come bar area, yes Mr Dodd close soundtrack and turn it back into a Cafe like your father had, there is no need for a TV shop in town when we all go to the Co Op on the Bridge and get better prices.

Both floors of Soundtrack would male a welcome return to the Popular cafe, just see all the visitors sitting at the bottom of High Street and watching the world pass by, reading the daily paper from the Paper Box.

Election Issues

Guern @ 7.06

I really like your ideas!

St Peter Port would become so much more attractive and so much more individual if we followed more French culture rather than UK culture..just like every where else!

Our Town is so attractive with cobbled streets, marinas and Castle Cornet. It could be enhanced so much with individual small shops and cafes with tables and chairs tumbling out on to the pavements and streets.

In the summer, St Peter Port looks magnificent with flowers and bunting...Carnival week is great fun for local people and tourists and should be extended for longer..with fewer acts. This is exactly the sort of atmosphere that draws people into Town to spend their money in the shops rather than on the internet.

Guern

Ice cream parlour, and as you say entertainment all summer long, just like in St. Malo,and we have plenty of local talent.

Bring it on, Town would become the place to be, parking is not a problem if want to park you will always find somewhere.

R. Williams

Dun't go down the town manager route. In Jersey we have a town manager. He is a complete waste of time, achieving nothing of any significance and costs the Parish of St. Helier a small fortune annually.

If you want to get ideas, send a small delegation to Bayeau and see what a delightful small town is like.

Election Issues

Not sure St Peter Port needs a town manager...not sure that the taxi rank has to be moved either. This is all tinkering about around the edges.

Whoever organises Carnival Week...just needs to organise a bit more of it.. for the summer months... perhaps with some late night shopping on a Thursday so people can shop, have a meal, drinks with friends and family. It is the feel good atmosphere that will get people into town.

Whoever organises Christmas late night shopping on Thursday night ...just has to organise more of the same.. for week days and week ends for the month of December to get everyone in the Christmas spirit!

Beanjar

Typical Guernsey response to a problem, blur the edges a bit and avoid it. Everybody knows that the main problems with town shopping: greedy prices, lack of choice, lack of stock, old stock, lack of consumer protection and 'couldn't-care-less' attitudes. Not every shop, not all the time. But certainly most shops most of the time.

Employing a town manager will not resolve any of these problems, the additional cost will just get lumped onto the prices. They can put up a few fairy lights, get people dressed up in costumes, get some morris dancers over etc. etc. but nothing will help until they stop treating us like gullible spendthrifts with no place else to buy from.

Election Issues

Jersey..... Christmas 2013

Fete de Noue...event packed, mid winter celebration.

During December. most of St Helier's shops will be open late on Thursday evenings and all day on Sundays.

A winter wonderland.

Lantern Parade

Spectacular Christmas Parade..local artisans and craft workers sell handmade gifts, Spiced cider, coffee, cakes and hot food.

Advent Markets...festive crafts, decorations, tasty treats, live entertainment

Candlelight tours

Gala Christmas Market

Gift Market at Liberty Wharf

Just a bit more than a few fairy lights and dressing up in costumes with some imported Morris dancers..

...Jersey means business ...and the shops are ringing with Christmas trade!

Beanjar

Such fun! Now tell us about all the stuff that you bought that you wouldn't have bought otherwise. Stuff you didn't need presumably? Who do you think paid for all the jollities?

Election Issues

Yes..such fun!

At least Jersey are actually doing something constructive about getting people into their town!

The Fete de Noue must draw local people in to St Helier to shop in the shops and not on the internet..

..Jersey must also be attracting tourists from UK, Guernsey and France. These tourists are spending their money in hotels, bars, restaurants as well the shops.

Just sitting back and moaning that the town is losing trade or it is dying... or the shops charge too much ...really is not good enough any more....St Peter Port needs to do 'something special' to get people into its shops to physically buy things....and not buy things on the internet!

It is up to the shops to sort out how much they sell their goods for... if they want to be competitive and it must be up to the conscience of the landlords about how much they charge in rent.

It really isn't just Jersey that are thinking of ways to entice customers into their town though is it? Every town or city are trying to do something....London has markets and stalls, skating, frost fairs, and the place is heaving.

Having to pay out for the 'jollities' to entice people to shop.. may bring in much more revenue to cover costs.

I take it that you are not keen on merriment or festivities?

Beanjar

EI, I think you have forgotten that this year round 'strategy' is about saving the town shops from eventual oblivion. Not a few seasonal events and extra shopping hours which have been laid on for years but done nothing to stop the rot. Did you forget to mention whether you spent even a single penny extra because of these events? You're not one of those scrooges who goes along for the free mince pie but buys all his prezzies off Amazon, are you?

Simon V

Excellent post Election Issues

I went to Jersey two weeks ago and experienced the same as you did. It was great to get away and I noticed a remarkable difference in the sales staff attitude,politeness and the wealth of choice of shops,

They are indeed open for business. I expect that they will also be opening these hours in the summer too.

I love the idea of the stalls and offerings at fete de la nuit and was tempted by Pallots Jersey wonders and the hot Jersey cider. The tables down the centre gave the shoppers somewhere to sit downed and enjoy there drinks and food.

I met more people from Guernsey that I know then when back home !they all seemed to enjoy it all too.

Election Issues

@ 11.50

The seasonal events and extended shopping hours at Christmas ad during the summer months could be at least a start to help persuade people to buy things in shops in town.

I don't think I am one of those Christmas scrooge types who just goes along for a 'free' mince pie.....because there is no such thing as a 'free' mince pie is there?

If I tell you that I do 'all' of my Christmas shopping online from Amazon.....I'll throw the question back to you..

...What do you suggest that the town traders can do to stop me buying 'all' my Christmas presents from Amazon.

If you don't think the seasonal events and extended opening shop hours will help...

..What year round strategy would you suggest could be used to save the town shops from eventual oblivion?

I presume there would be no 'jollities' involved in your strategy at all?

Beanjar

EI, There is no magic pill. The problem is our retailers have traditionally had no competition. Some, such as car dealers or retailers of specific items such as central heating boilers still hold a monopoly in practical terms. Their attitude is pretty much "take it or leave it" even when you can prove the same item sells at half the price in the UK. Then they threaten that they won't maintain or supply spares for items they didn't supply. Its legalised mugging.

My earlier post (14) included: "...the main problems with town shopping: greedy prices, lack of choice, lack of stock, old stock, lack of consumer protection and ‘couldn’t-care-less’ attitudes. Not every shop, not all the time. But certainly most shops most of the time." I stand by that. If they attend to every one of these issues why wouldn't we all prefer to buy locally?

Simon V

Not very sexy now Beajar is it ?

Sam

I had an experience with a car I imported from Japan. A few local garages refused to service or even carry out any maintenance on it because their nose was out of joint due to not making six thousand pounds from the sale. A grey import is what they called it. I resorted to having the vehicle serviced off island when I took my holidays. The labour is around half compared to what I would have paid locally and in the main it worked out very well.

The locals who get petty trying to protect a monopoly end up losing in the long run. People are much wiser and will always find another way. When they do it tends to be a cheaper alternative and is yet another loss for local greedy businesses who alienate customers and potential future business profits. It is a sure way to guarantee a short lived business plan. I have imported every new car since my first and probably have saved the best part of 40K for a few hours of my time online.

Garages have had it far too good over here. Many have taken customers as complete fools and believe they could continue to do so.

Before buying a new car locally I would advise everybody to do a quick Google search. The best part of 10K is an average typical saving on a new car or van compared to local prices. Much more for a more luxurious model. Forget about the greedy garages altogether is what I say. They all want to maximise every penny they can from what they believe is people with more money than sense.

I have more sense to make my money work harder for me rather than allow greedy locals to bleed me dry all the time.

Guern

Market Square is the obvious place to actually hold a market, stalls with seasonal goods, and stalls such as they have along the seafront when it is closed,even when the French market comes this is the area it should be held.

It is alright to knock the owners of property in town for being greedy, but then those renting shops have the right to say we are not paying that and that would start to force rents down.Some of the big local stores need to look at staff who actually are no real help to the customer, like if something asked for not in stock but an alternative could be suggested rather than no interest being shown, we need later opening of stores and yes even Sunday trading, and if it is not on Kevin Stewarts radar, lets find another States member who will champion it.

Come on let's get town buzzing in time for a good summer.

No need for a town manager just a good team of shop owners who want to increase their turn over by encouraging us back into town, and away from our key boards.

Portland

I've just spent a great weekend shopping in London.

A couple of grand (plus hotel, flights etc) that has not gone into the local economy.

Why?

Choice, price & the attitude that local shops are owed some sort of loyalty by local shoppers.

It's a two way street.

Being served by a disinterested half wit who's cannot be bothered to check if an item is in stock while telling me that it's great value despite being nearly 40% above the UK vat inclusive price, is not my idea of fun.

There will be no need for a retail strategy soon as only those that lack a basic command of mathematics will buy anything locally.

Retailers, support us & we'll support you. There's your strategy for the future.

Keep up the current level of service & pricing & you may want to be checking the break clauses in your lease.