Chiswick Traders Call For Action On High Rents
Warn that more independents will be forced to close
A call for help for local retailers who face high rent charges has been made by a Chiswick boutique owner.
“ People need to support their high road and help the small independent retailers and businesses in their local area”, says Diane Bardon, owner of De Joli boutique on Chiswick High Road.
She has called on local people to sign a petition (below) set up by Retail Week and the British Retail Consortium to lobby government to freeze business rates and look at how to make the annual rates rise calculation fairer.
Ms. Bardon said independent traders were being squeezed having to pay high rents, despite the recession and the drop in business. It had also been a bad summer for trade.
“I’m here 23 years and I am seeing shops closing in Chiswick due to high rents and rates. It’s a nightmare. It’s not only just in Chiswick of course, but people say they like Chiswick because it’s like a little village, but that’s not going to continue if shops keep closing.”
She said she personally knew people who had closed their shops on the High Road because they could not afford to pay higher rents. She has already closed a second shop in Twickenham.
Several well-known independent outlets have closed in the past twelve months. This week a newsagent in Turnham Green will be closing after over 25 years in Chiswick.
Sam Harrison of Sam’s Bar and Brasserie said the Chiswick High Road would change if local rents continued to be comparable to West End levels.
“It is a sad truth that Chiswick rents are unsustainable for many independent retail operators.
“Chain and large operators are often able to carry the cost of the high rents because they can make savings elsewhere or they can almost run at a loss to have a Chiswick site within their portfolio. But even that is not always the case, when you look at some of the chain restaurants that have had to close.
“The rents in Chiswick have been pushed up to what is almost in line with the West End and other much higher footfall locations. It is a real shame as I believe we will see more chain operations, mobile phone shops and estate agents opening”.
Several leading retailers including Toys r Us, Boots and Waitrose have joined in the call for the government to look at business rates saying the issue affects retailers of all sizes.
October 13, 2012