Trading places on Brighton’s high street

Shutting up shop: The lanes have also faced a hit from the slump in Christmas sales.

The British Retail Consortium reported the worst Christmas sales for retailers in a decade, and with more shops closing their doors, how is Brighton’s iconic shopping scene coping?

According to the Guardian, up to 85,000 retail jobs have disappeared from the high street across Britain in the first nine months of last year.

They also reported that high businesses rates are holding back the high street, property based tax raises £29billion a year for the treasury – of which retailers contribute £8billion.

They said that New West End Company calculated Marks & Spencer paid £184million in business rates from its £9.6billion turnover, compared to the substantially smaller business rates of online retailer, Amazon, who paid just £14million from its £7.3billion turnover.

Here in the south east, 9.7% of workers are employed by the retail sector. However along with most high streets in Britain, Brighton has seen many chain and local businesses come and go from high street locations.

That’s both of Brighton’s decent second hand book shops closed down in the space of a year 🙁
— Ted Morris (@ted_morris) March 16, 2019

One employee of a popular high street retailer, who wished to remain anonymous, revealed that due to her hours suddenly dropping because of slow sales, she had to get a second job to make ends meet.

She said: “We had certain days that were good for sales, but come January and obviously no one has money, so our sales were dropping.

“When it comes to people working here there were not enough hours to go around anymore, so my contracted hours got dropped and I’ve had to get another job just to make rent.”

More and more shops in the city’s shopping centre have been closing down or moving away.

Mothercare in Churchill Square has been replaced and Poundworld on London Road remains vacant, since both companies went into administration last year.

High Street Minister, James Berry MP, said: “High streets and small businesses are the backbone of our economy and we want to see them thrive now and in the future.

“Our high streets are changing and the government is committed the helping communities adapt.

“Our future high streets may well feature more homes, childcare centres and gyms to bring people back and ensure that they keep returning.”

As many locals turn to online retailers, some high street shops have had to adapt and move to different locations.  

Cult Hero, a local independent music store in the heart of Brighton, did just that. To find out more, watch the video below:

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