Ilford Town Centre ‘weathering financial storm’

ILFORD Town Centre is weathering the financial storm, despite new figures putting it near the summit of an east London empty shops league.

Research released by the The Local Data Company puts Ilford’s vacant shop count at 10.9 per cent of all premises.

That is second only to Romford (14.8 per cent) in the east London league table.

Ilford’s empty shop figure is 0.72 per cent up on six months ago and the town ranks 17th in the London-wide list.

The figures were collected by a visual count of occupied and unoccupied shops.

David Miles, chairman of the South West Essex branch of the Federation of Small Business (FSB), said: “It is important for the future of Ilford Town Centre that this upward move is reversed as quickly as possible and we will look to work with the council and other partners to encourage more retailers to choose Ilford and open stores in the town.”

But with big names including Primark preparing to move into the town early next year, Ilford Town Centre manager Neil Davis is adamant the picture is rosy.

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Questioning the method used to gather the data, he said: “In the pedestrianised area we have three vacant units. One is being redeveloped and designs are being drawn up, one has a change of use in place to become a Holland and Barrett, and one is vacant and I’ve been assured there is a lot of interest and someone will be in there before Christmas.

“They may look empty, but it’s not the full story. Times are still difficult for retailers.

“Everybody is having to work harder for less money.

“But Ilford is doing really well and weathering the storm.

“The businesses all seem to be thriving.”

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