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Newton Abbot's economy is bucking the trend

By Herald Express  |  Posted: February 23, 2013

Sally Henley

Comments (7)

NEWTON Abbot's town centre economy is bucking the national trend, a new report has revealed.

Footfall and shop vacancy rates in the town are much better than the national picture.

Sally Henley, town development manager, said the health of the high street was good and shoppers had not shunned the local shops as they have in other parts of the country.

Nationally, the number of vacant retail units in town and city centres has actually dropped to 10.9 per cent, down 0.4 per cent from October, 2012.

But in Newton Abbot, the figure is now 3.9 per cent, making it one of the best towns in South Devon for its buoyant high street.

Mrs Henley said although Newton Abbot had been affected by national trends, 'the picture here is much better than sometimes portrayed'.

She said: "Despite the very high profile closures of national chains such as HMV and Jessops, among others, we have seen positive signs from our local independent retailers and the bigger names on our own high street.

"In fact, January's cold and snow seems to have worked in the favour of high streets and town centres across the country as local people once again appreciated the value of local shops on their doorsteps."

This was backed by figures which show that while out-of-town shopping precincts saw footfall drop by 7.2 per cent in January, town centres only suffered a 3.3 per cent drop.

Mrs Henley said: "Newton Abbot has the more successful national chains that people want and a great range of independent shops. We have a good mix.".

Mrs Henley said the horsemeat scandal has also helped boost the number of shoppers visiting their local butchers.

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  • robocop1982  |  February 24 2013, 8:23PM

    what is the point in any of this for anybody.

  • robocop1982  |  February 24 2013, 8:21PM

    junkyard row. WHat on earth is anybody possibly going to do with all that junk in those shops. this is absolute hell

  • stevetims2  |  February 24 2013, 11:11AM

    B.R.A.T.S wont listen because they are small minded and have a devonian brain. Brixham deserve not to have any supermarkets and then brixham will hopefully vanish from existent

  • abcxyz  |  February 23 2013, 5:45PM

    How much more proof do we need that in-town supermarkets are not only good for the high street by increasing footfall but can actually save it from sinking into decline as would be the case in Brixham. BRATS take note, three local towns Newton Abbot, Totnes and Kingsbridge all doing very well and all with large in-town supermarkets. Torquay, Paignton and Brixham all struggling with none of them having an in-town supermarket. Doesn't take much working out does it?

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  • Mooresy84  |  February 22 2013, 12:56PM

    @stevetims2 - you have a point but the two come hand-in-hand. Asda has no doubt done much to attract customers to the centre of Newton Abbot, which in turn attracts independent businesses, therefor creating diversity. Of course it remains to be seen whether Torquay can replicate Newton Abbot's success with it's own supermarket (albeit not as large) next to the town hall. However, I suggest the SOBRATS (SOME OF the Brixham Residents Against Tesco Store) group take note. I think the location and size in Brixham could have a similar affect with the introduction of a supermarket.

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  • stevetims2  |  February 22 2013, 9:14AM

    Blah Blah Blah @ poster below. The reason is due to more choice in Newton than in the dead town AKA Torquay and Paignton AND due to free parking on Sundays and after 5pm. You only have to drive down the main street after 5pm to see the road is full of cars with people enjoying weatherpersons and the local shops. Then compare that to the streets in dead Torquay and Paignton. Speaks volumes me thinks.

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  • spindleshanks  |  February 22 2013, 8:28AM

    Proof if needed that town centre supermarkets don't operate at the expense of independent retailers. It is all about the independents taking advantage of the increase in footfall they generate. Torquay for example, (a town of two halves), has to address the issue of a town centre retail offer that currently does not cater for the needs of local residents. Not the luxuries of life, but the necessities such as reasonably priced food. It also has to come up with a retail offer directed at our many visitors that does not replicate that found in either Newton Abbot, Plymouth or Exeter. Personally my experience has been that guests staying with us don't comment on the empty shops with for sale/rent signs displayed in the town, (they have them at home too), as they are too busy spending their money in the "different" shops that are still open. Likewise, their first question when they arrive (self catering) is "where's the nearest supermarket?" http://tinyurl.com/7ylfvsn

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