‘Let’s work together’ traders urge shops

Kim Nicholson and stall holder Paul Higgs.
Kim Nicholson and stall holder Paul Higgs.

THE LATEST row over a popular market has seen stall holders hit out at those who claim they are harming business in the town.

At a meeting last week shopkeepers in Poulton said their stores had been left almost deserted since the arrival of the town’s weekly market.

They spoke of fears businesses could be destroyed by the stalls offering discount goods just yards away from their doors and said they would rather see it forced to sell specialist goods only.

But stall holders say they are not offering any knock down prices and businesses need to work with the market not against it.

Market trader, Kevin Tully, of Bathtime Soaps, said: “I think we need to work together because the footfall going through the market is phenomenal.

“It is full, I have never seen that before, it is proving the best market we have ever traded at, but we all need to work with each other.

“We have spoken to local cafe owners and they say business is booming, the market is bringing people to the town who may not usually have visited.

“I sympathise with shop owners who have to pay rent but this is a good thing for Poulton.”

Paul Higgs, who runs a pet stall at markets across the North West, said shop owners should offer discount prices on market day to compete.

He added: “It could work for everyone, on Monday the market was heaving, locals are really happy to have it in what is a market town.

“I work in markets in Fleetwood, Cumbria and Morecambe and have never had this response from local businesses.

“I am not selling at discount prices, my prices remain the same wherever I sell and I take away a profit, but traders have to understand this market is a great opportunity for them as well, as it is new.”

The Monday market was started by Wyre Council as a way of bringing more shoppers to the area and has proved popular with locals.

It was originally planned as a Wednesday market but was forced to switch days as it clashed with the weekly market in Great Eccleston.

Wyre Council has said it will evaluate the success of the market over the coming months but added there had been a lack of engagement from traders with regard setting up a trade association.

It had hoped to set up a trade association before the market opened to avoid clashes between shop owners and stall-holders.