THE shopping streets of Ringwood are set to take a knock again, with several shops closing down after years of trading.
The popular Paperview bookshop – which hosted high-profile book signings and talks – is closing after seven years. Underwear shop Lolie and Bella is also closing down at the end of March, and its owner says poor trading over the last few months, plus high rents and rates, are to blame.
Even a complete overhaul has not saved Denise Davenport’s Prêt a Porter dress agency after 13 years – she is set to close up soon, too. Gibbs Menswear is also closing down.
The news comes after Blockbuster went into administration and closed before Christmas. There are already 19 closed shop units in the town.
However, Carr and Neave commercial agents have agreed a sale at 13-15 West Street, and lets have been agreed at the former Shoe Zone in Meeting House Lane, Escape Hairdressers in Market Place and the former Streets Toyshop in Christchurch Road.
New money could also come into Ringwood if a new development for up to 175 new homes planned for fields off Crow Arch Lane, gets the go-ahead.
Karen Navarette of Lolie and Bella said: “I just haven’t had enough footfall.
“I had a tough autumn and winter season and I just took the decision not to keep battling anymore. It is sad but the high rents and council tax has made it difficult for me keep going.”
At Prêt a Porter Mrs Davenport said: “I am devastated.
“This shop has been my life for the last 13 years and despite every effort and support from the community, I am so sad that it has had to come to this.”
Paperview owner Trevor Johnson said that his decision to close was personal and was not a tale of high street woe.
He said: “We will be open all through February and into March. We have had seven lovely years with wonderful customers and last year we put on some great events. But the writing is on the wall for bookshops in general with the advent of technology.”