Shoppers may be abandoning Bournemouth because our shops are TOO good, says the president of Bournemouth's Chamber of Trade and Commerce.
In his regular column for Dorset Business, Nigel Hedges says he can't understand why shoppers are staying away from the town.
He says: "One nagging mystery is, with the confidence national brands show in opening prestige offers here and the thriving local trading suburbs who play to their very local audiences, that many one-time shoppers have dropped us off their 'to do' list.
"It's not the cost of parking, we have helpful Rangers to guide you to your destination, we've still got the gardens and an amazing retail offer.
"Maybe our shops are TOO tempting; they can't spend all their spare change on a coffee surely?"
Mr Hedges, who says he can remember when empty shops were unheard of, believes the current downtown is not part of the "regular cycle" of business - but says he has noticed a recent upswing which he hopes will be the pattern for 2013.