Despite dismay at the latest closure on a town’s high street, traders say Christmas trading has led to hope that business will pick up.
Simply Cafe in Queen’s Road, Buckhurst Hill, closed its doors on New Year’s Eve and there are several closed and boarded-up shops in the street, causing sadness among regulars.
Former customer Kelly Ford, 35, of Hurst Road, said: “It was nice because it was different from your chain cafes.
“It’s just sad it’s another business that’s closed.”
But Wayne Kirven, 61, who owns Firma for Men clothing shop in the road, said: “I don’t think it’s all doom and gloom.
“Christmas was pretty good – I was up 15 to 20 per cent. Quite a lot of my customers live outside the area, but I started a sale on the Saturday before Christmas and then all the locals came in.
“The fact that there was no snow or ice was very good for business.
“I saw people queuing up to get into Rabbit and Stars toy shop.”
Nicky Hunt, 42, who owns Catch fish restaurant, also in Queen’s Road, said: “It was only my second Christmas, but it was OK.
“We got our regulars and people who enjoy the restaurant. We’re looking to increase our regulars.
“Businesses have got to stay one step ahead and adapt themselves. In the past five months, I’ve started doing breakfasts.
“I don’t want to work from 8am to 1am, but if you’re open, people talk about you and if you’re not, they don’t.”
According to the British Retail Consortium, sales over Christmas across the country rose by 1.5 per cent, compared with 2011.