AS TALK of national high street struggles mount for a growing number of reasons, one Dorset town is on a strong footing for the future according to its traders.

This winter businesses are not immune from soaring energy costs, while changing shopping habits and the hangover from the pandemic rumbles on.

Yet Christchurch's independent retailers, cafes, and restaurants are optimistic about the months ahead.

While businesses elsewhere in the conurbation are being pushed to breaking point, the popular town appears to be thriving, and welcoming even more trade.

Yuanyi Li, introduced new wine and cicchetti bar, Baccello, to Christchurch High Street last month, and has reported fully booked tables every weekend since.

Bournemouth Echo: Yuanyi Li at Baccello with deputy manager, AmberYuanyi Li at Baccello with deputy manager, Amber (Image: NQ)

He highlighted that he is largely surrounded by independent traders, who offer a ‘variety’ of products and services and are therefore not forced to compete with one another.

He said: “We’ve got some good venues around here that are doing really well.

“If a customer comes in and asks for a beer, I’ll try and get them to drink wine, but if they don’t, well I’ll tell them there’s an expert over the road.

Read more: How Dorset's high streets performed in 2021

“We’re not in competition with anybody, and we don’t see many chains. It’s just local businesses that are supporting each other.”

Jane Louise Roberts owns Jaylo’s, an independent boutique nearby on Church St. She was another to praise the location, and the ‘supportive’ shops that surround her.

Bournemouth Echo: Jane Louise Roberts has owned Jaylo’s for 11 yearsJane Louise Roberts has owned Jaylo’s for 11 years (Image: NQ)

She said: “Here’s really good because we’re all independent, and we all do different things, and different prices.

“It’s a really good bit to be in.”

Mark Battistini at Fantastic Things Emporium in Saxon Square agreed that the variety of shops, and the lack of big chains, had made things easier for his business.

He said: “With us, we’re a bit different, and we have a lot of different items in here.

“I think chains can have a negative effect on small shops, but here there’s not many chains around so it doesn’t affect us too much.”

He added that the shop’s footfall was high, and sales had gone up in the last year. He said: “Our footfall is still high and compared to last year, we’re 20-25 per cent up on last year’s sales, but then we have also expanded, and we do have more traders in.

"But it’s definitely not dropping, and there’s a lot of people walking past.”

Christina Pengelly at Christchurch Business Improvement District (BID) said: "Christchurch High Street continues to be a popular and thriving destination, despite the challenges of recent years.

"It has an excellent blend of independent shops and national chains and is an attractive place for new businesses - two new independent businesses have opened on the High Street in the past month, with another due to open soon.

"Christchurch BID is helping take care of its High Street by offering energy pricing options. But, like High Streets nationwide, business owners are nervously watching inflation, rent increases, lack of staffing, and energy costs and how this will affect their businesses."