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Independent Woodford shops struggling to compete with large chain stores

PUBLISHED: 12:30 12 June 2014

Independent shops in Woodford which have served the community for decades have closed down as they struggle to compete with large chain stores.

Several independent shops in areas such as the High Road and The Broadway in Woodford Green have shut their doors in the last six months, as major retailers such as Sainsbury’s and Costa Coffee move in.

Jay Jay stores, a convenience store in The Broadway recently closed after 30 years and branches of the family run bakery, Giffords, in South Woodford, Woodford High Road, Woodford Bridge and Chingford shut down after 60 years.

Manager of Broadway Music and Vision, Martin O’Shea, said: “It is becoming more and more difficult for independent shops around here and I think they need a little more help.”

Chairman of Redbridge Chamber of Commerce, Geoff Hill, said: “Smaller businesses are closing due to a mixture of reasons such as infrastructure, because they cannot expand their shops; parking - customers have limited access, as well as the effects of the economic downturn which is still having an impact on places such as Woodford.”

Cllr Jim O’Shea (Cons, Monkhams), said: “It is obviously very sad for businesses to go after all this time but the shops that are closing in The Broadway are quickly being turned around and not being left empty, as new businesses are opening up instead.”

However, there are potential plans in place to help independent businesses.

These include free parking for half an hour which may be introduced in The Broadway in September, to encourage customers to shop in the area for longer.

Cllr Jim O’Shea added: “This will hopefully help the independent businesses in the area to stay open and for people to see the good quality of goods that are being sold.”

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