Five more shops have closed in St Albans city centre

PUBLISHED: 09:13 08 February 2009 | UPDATED: 13:54 06 May 2010

FIVE shops in St Albans city centre have closed in recent months bringing the total number of vacant retail units to 25. As well as the Woolworths closure, Viyella in Christopher Place, Hopscotch Childrenswear and Ches on Chequer Street and the Arsenal Sh

FIVE shops in St Albans city centre have closed in recent months bringing the total number of vacant retail units to 25.

As well as the Woolworths closure, Viyella in Christopher Place, Hopscotch Childrenswear and Ches on Chequer Street and the Arsenal Shop in the Maltings have all closed.

Quirky gift shop Rocket, in the Village Arcade, has been converted into two new shops called The Closet and Cobblers.

Japanese restaurant Mantra along Verulam Road also closed towards the end of last year.

Hopscotch Childrenswear's final day of trading was Saturday, January 31, after five years in the city. The company has another store in Chorleywood which remains open but the costs of that premises are about one-third of the St Albans shop.

Hopscotch owner, Barbara Burford, said:"St Albans is a lovely place but it does not warrant the sort of rents and rates charged. I have nothing negative to say about St Albans but the number of people who shop there is not likely to change.

"Therefore, if they want to keep St Albans as the nice town that everybody knows, the rents have got to be more realistic.They have to realise that people are not going to come in the quantities necessary to warrant the rents."

She also said the city centre roadworks in recent years had damaged trade which her shop had not recovered from.

She added: "We have enjoyed working with the people of St Albans and would like to say a big thank you to everyone who has supported us and for all the lovely messages of support that we have received.

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