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Support the high street or watch it die, warns Cullompton trader
1:16pm Thursday 31st May 2012 in Cullompton
A CULLOMPTON trader who says his shop has been forced to close by rising taxation, declining customer numbers and vicious competition from online retailers is urging people to support their high street stores or risk losing them.
Colin Peck, who owns Tavy Textiles in Fore Street, said the number of customers using his store had declined since a Tesco supermarket opened in Cul-lompton back in 2008.
But he told the Star the final blow had come from online ret-ailers and consumers’ willingness to shop on the internet, and he implored people to return to using shops in their own town.
He said: “The footfall has gone down a lot over the past couple of years and the internet has been the real killer.
“People are using us like an internet library, coming in, feeling the cloths and ordering them online for a pound or two less.
“They’re getting lazy, just sitting at their computers ordering things and not getting to see or feel them for themselves.
“I think we’re on a slippery slope with the internet and I think the Government has to do something about it.
“If people don’t start using their stores again we’re going to end up with nothing but blac-ked out windows in the high street.”
Mr Peck also voiced his belief that the Government should relax business rates so smaller businesses could afford to take spaces in the high street again.
He said: “A business rate red-uction of 50% over three to five years could regenerate the high street because businesses would be able to afford to move back in – right now a lot of them just can’t afford the costs.”
Tavy Textiles will close its doors to the public for good at the end of July.