A LEADING clothing retailer could be about to shut down its Wigan store in the latest blow to hit the town centre’s high street.
Rumours suggest Burton and Dorothy Perkins, which are both part of the Arcadia Group, may close the doors of their joint store on Standishgate in June.
The Wigan Evening Post was contacted to say staff at the clothing store were called to a meeting and informed of the upcoming redundancy on Tuesday.
Although details of the closure remain unconfirmed, it is believed that the store could be closing down due to Arcadia’s inability to agree a suitable rental fee for the store with the landlord.
Menswear shop Burton and popular women’s outfitters Dorothy Perkins will become the latest in a string of national chains to vanish from Wigan’s high street in recent years as the recession continues to take its toll on the retail economy.
Recent closures included video rental store Blockbuster and entertainment giant HMV’s branch in the Grand Arcade. Camera chain Jessops also went into administration in 2013.
High business rates which must be paid on retail premises are also thought to be deterring firms from investing in the town centre, with the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) website showing some prime retail units in Wigan set occupants back as much as £200,000 a year.
However, the town centre is still regarded as one of the country’s top 100 retail destinations, helped by its two railway stations, bus terminus and road access from neighbouring towns.
The Galleries shopping centre recently announced an ambitious £60m plan to improve the fortunes of Wigan’s businesses.
The proposals involve linking the retail facilities to a nearby Learning Zone, made up of the recently-opened Wigan Youth Zone and University Technical College (UTC), and increasing the number of leisure opportunities.
The Galleries hopes the plan will create a focal point at the northern side of the town centre to draw in visitors and counterbalance the effect of the Grand Arcade and the two Wigan Life Centre buildings at the southern end. The Arcadia Group were asked to comment but had not responded as the Wigan Evening Post went to print.