Islanders urged to shop local instead of online to prevent high street closures

Alex Spiceley reports...

Shop owners in Jersey say they are struggling to keep up with online retailers in the run-up to Christmas. Tito Kahn, who runs a technology shop, is closing his doors in the next month because of growing competition and rising running costs. He says more support is needed for independent businesses to keep the high street alive:

"It's sad you know coming up to our 15th anniversary, a lot of local people are supporting us all the way. They're all sad but unfortunately that's how it goes - I tried my best to keep it going for a long time."

Rising costs and growing competition have led to shop owners like Tito Khan shutting shop completely.

He is not alone with shop owner Harriet Rouse saying slashed prices are only possible for industry giants - not those going it on their own who rely on local footfall: "Black Friday can only work with warehouse-based retail and anyone who tries to compete with that who has high street rents and staff who they pay above living wage cannot complete with the warehouse thing and I fully understand the value of it and the huge tensions on peoples budgets - but small independent retailers aren't here to compete with Black Friday. "

Harriet Rouse says Black Friday can only work for warehouse based retail.

With the number of people passing through town still below what they were before the pandemic in 2019 , shop owners say the past month has been just as stormy as the weather.

But with the gift-giving season just weeks away the Town Centre Manager, Connor Burgher, is urging islanders to take up what St Helier has to offer:

"The internet has had an impact on the high street, it was accelerated by covid but what I can say is that what you get in St Helier is something you can't get online so that's amazing customer service - it's product knowledge and also a really warm reception from all the retailers in town."

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