Trade in Bexhill - Spring 2013
By Sue Spice – Communications Officer Bexhill Chamber of Commerce & Tourism
Is Business suffering in Bexhill?
Of course, but not as bad as some local towns. There are pockets of empty properties but not too many. This recession is hitting all of us in business in this country one way or another. Bexhill is no exception, but we are doing better than many other towns. In the town centre we have now have Phones4You in Devonshire Road. Marks & Spencer are opening in Ravenside Retail Park at the end of this year Great news for our town that the nationals see us as a town worth the investment.
We have seen the loss of several town centre businesses. Established businesses with years of experience and “padding” to fall back on will continue to survive, particularly those specialist businesses. Today, and for the near future, we all need some help.
Several shops have closed in Devonshire Road but it is not too bad, now we have a lovely new branch of Trattoria Italiana, in the premises that used to house the Linen Shop, after a total refurbishment as a restaurant. Of course we do expect more casualties of the economic turndown but it really is not too bad here in Bexhill.
In this downturn it is not just the retailers who have been hurt, the service industries are being hit hard, they tend to be overlooked as they are not as noticeable as the retailers. Most of us know somebody who has lost their job locally in a service sector such as Banking, estate agents, solicitors, accountants, hairdressing, media, marketing and advertising. It’s still a tough time for the service sector.
The old saying “Turnover is vanity but profit is sanity” is more relevant today than ever before.
Sackville Road has businesses opening. Seems to be a little enclave of property agents around the traffic lights, this is good. Good to see the Antique Dealers moving into the area. Smaller businesses are continuing to open in most of our trading roads, not with a huge amount of publicity, they don’t have the marketing budgets for this, but they are opening, they do see a future here.
We are a visitor destination, email requests from potential visitors for copies of the Official Guide to Bexhill are 60% up on this same period last year, many of these people are first time visitors. The requests from Europe are still lower than the past but there are still requests from France, Germany and the Netherlands. These visitors spend money, they stay, eat, shop. Interestingly over 25% of requests for the Bexhill Guide are from people who are investigating moving to Bexhill.
One of the selling points for marketing Bexhill is the amount of owner managed shops that we have in town, visitors to the town find this really interesting and a refreshing change from the shopping malls and the lookalike town centres up and down the country.
Like it or not, we have the most charity shops of any town of similar size in Sussex, Surrey, Hampshire and Kent. Several coach companies come here each week simply for their passengers to visit DLWP and the "town with all the charity shops". This should be seen as good news - as these visitors not only buy in our charity shops but they also visit our cafes and other shops.
Parking always causes friction, in every town throughout the country - however we are different.
We should remember and celebrate the fact that we are now one of the last towns in East Sussex to have free onstreet parking, plus we have all of the promenade for unrestricted parking.
We really are the envy of Eastbourne and Hastings with all of this free parking. Wainwright Road car park, this is a really good car park for Town Hall Square and the Western end of town.
If you are interested in opening a business in Bexhill email email@example.com as we have members who may be able to assist you with premises. We also have lots of information and will be able to answer many of your questions.