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Fakenham shopping survey results

PUBLISHED: 11:32 02 July 2011

Our reporters took to the streets of Fakenham to find out how shopkeepers were battling out tough economic times and to discover what shoppers were looking for when buying goods.

Here are our results (the figures are for how many people answered that part of the question):

Shopkeepers

How long has your shop been open?

Under five years 4

Between five and 10 years

Between 10 and 20 years 4

More than 20 years 2

Would you recommend opening a small shop to someone else?

Yes 9

No 1

Which of the following statements is most true?

Trade has increased in the past 18 months 3

Trade has decreased in the past 18 months 4

Trade as remained steady in the past 18 months 3

Do you believe the government does enough to support small independent shops?

Yes 2

No 8

Would you describe your town/ city as a “clone town” with more chain stores than independent ones?

Yes 2

No 8

Do you feel supermarkets have negatively impacted on your trade?

Yes 0

No 10

This is what some shopkeepers said:

Stuart Cuttler, owner of The Eye Man eye specialists in Fakenham, said: “They should bring back the fair rents commission to mediate rents for small businesses and have VAT concessions for small businesses with a higher VAT threshold as this would allow small businesses to expand and employ more people.

“There should also be government-backed programmes for small businesses to expand and employ more staff, for example the government pays staff wages and staff receive on the job training from the employer.

“I also think they should remove rates concessions for charity shops. Each charity shop not paying rates is removing that income from the local council so other businesses are therefore subsidising these shops. Charity shops do work for good causes but do not provide paid employment for people, except managers.”

David Rust, 59, owner of Fakenham Carpet and Blind Centre, said: “We’ve been in Fakenham for 19 years and trade has gradually declines over that time. I think it’s the same in other similar sized towns like Swaffham and Downham Market. People now expect big, glitzy stores and lots of choice and it makes it harder for small, independent businesses to compete.”

Chris Gibbons, 24, manager of Digital Phone Company, in Fakenham, said: “Cheaper rents for small local businesses would benefit the town and small business owners.”

And here are the results when we surveyed shoppers:

Where do you buy most of your food?

Major supermarket chain 9

Small local shop 1

Market

Where do you buy most of your non-food items?

Major supermarket 2

Local high street or town centre 5

Norwich or other city high street 3

Does your local high street currently provide enough quality and variety for you to just shop there and nowhere else?

Yes 0

No 10

If it did would you choose to shop locally and stay away from major supermarkets?

Yes 9

No 1

Are you proud of your local town centre?

Yes 4

No 6

Are any of the following statements true?

Proud of local town centre 4

Used to be proud but not any more 1

There is a poor choice of shops in my local town centre 8

A vibrant high street is vital to the community 7

There are too many chain stores in my local town centre

I shop at a supermarket, rather than an independent store 6

I shop at an independent store, rather than a supermarket 2

There are too many supermarkets in my area 2

What are your main considerations when shopping?

Price of goods 5

Convenient choice of goods 6

Want to buy local goods 2

Want to support local business 4

Lauren Price, 18. who lives in Fakenham, said: “Fakenham needs to appeal to younger residents and to ensure that people from nearby villages shop in Fakenham rather than Norwich or King’s Lynn.

“The town needs to be updated and have some new big brand shops. I’d particularly like to see more clothes shops like River Island and Primark. I also think there are too many charity shops in Fakenham.”

Jean Cox, 77, from Fakenham, said: “The main problem with Fakenham is that there are far too many empty shops. Fakenham used to have a much better town centre but it is going down hill and there is not much here now.”

Pat Boggis, 68, from Fakenham, said: “I think the best thing that could be done to improve Fakenham town centre would be to introduce free parking and to bring in more decent shops. It seems that business rates are too high for many and people have to sell an awful lot to make money.”

A survey of 20 stores within the same vicinity in Fakenham found that 10 were national chain stores, nine are independent shops and there was one empty shop.



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