A drop in town centre footfall has proved a bitter pill to swallow for a trader who is closing her traditional sweet shop.

Karen Baker, owner of Humbug Confectionary in Station Road, Epping, which opened in 2008, is moving out of the shop on March 2 to concentrate on a new stall at the town’s Monday market and online sales.

She said: “There just doesn’t seem to be the number of people coming in that there used to be.

“Since shops started closing in the High Street, you don’t get people around. 

“I think the biggest loss was Argos, which closed in about April last year. People used to go there and look around the rest of the town.

“When I look at the takings, they’ve deteriorated since then.

“Also, the council are changing all the rules on the signs. The rents keep going up and we’re all trying to survive.”

She said more big names needed to open in the town to attract shoppers, who would then visit the independent stores.

The 41-year-old added: “I lived in Loughton when my daughter was born 20 years ago and I remember there not being a lot of shops.

“Now, there are bars and a New Look – they’ve got something.

“If Epping could just get better shops, there would be a reason for people to come to us.”

She hopes to make her website, www.humbugepping.co.uk , a success, focussing on balloon sales as well as sweets.