THREE more stores on Poole High Street are closing down, as the pandemic continues to hit struggling retailers hard.

Bournemouth Echo:

Fashion chain Edinburgh Woollen Mill (EWM), which owns Peacocks, has lodged a notice of intention to appoint administrators with the High Court, putting around 24,000 jobs in doubt nationwide.

In Poole, EWM, Peacocks and Bonmarche stores are currently advertising closing down sales.

Bournemouth Echo:

Steve Reilly, of Poole Business Improvement District (BID), told the Echo: “The news surrounding EWM is concerning especially for its employees and highlights the need for High Streets to adapt."

With adapting to the changing shape of the High Street in mind, Poole BID says it is working to attract independent retailers to make up for some of the large retailers that have opted to move away from the High Street.

Bournemouth Echo:

Mr Reilly said: "Poole BID’s view is attracting independents to the town will help mitigate closures by major retailers, there have been a number of new openings in The Dolphin Centre and The Kingland project is now under way.

"We are working on plans that will see artisan markets and live music brought to the area on a trial basis with distancing measures planned in, BCP Council have been supportive of these plans.

"The success of outdoor hospitality on Poole Quay in the summer shows change works."

Work has already started at Kingland Crescent to renovate it into a boutique shopping area, and in August Beales department storer reopened in Poole's Dolphin Shopping Centre, run by new owners New Start 2020.

On the latest Poole High Street closures, shopper Mick Anderson said: "I expect even more will fall by the wayside, how can stores like this compete with online during this coronavirus thing?

"But, I do like the idea of independent shops coming. They need to be backed by the council though, there is no point charging them the earth for rents and rates."

Meanwhile, speaking after the company went to the High Court, EWM chief executive Steve Simpson said: "Like every retailer, we have found the past seven months extremely difficult.

"We have applied to court today for a short breathing space to assess our options before moving to appoint administrators.

“Through this process I hope and believe we will be able to secure the best future for our businesses, but there will inevitably be significant cuts and closures as we work our way through this."