Bunce’s closure shows sad truth of UK high street closures

The news of the closure of all seven branches of Bunce’s Home Hardware is sad on so many levels.

First and foremost, some 30 people have lost their jobs. Secondly, another traditional, family-run company disappears from the high street after almost a century. And then there is the knock-on effect it might have on the local economy.

Bunces in Steyning. Photo: Google Images SUS-190129-151139001

Bunces in Steyning. Photo: Google Images SUS-190129-151139001

Earlier this week, I was in the town centre. I was struck by the imminent closure of Pressleys in South Street, which, like Bunce’s, is a long-standing Worthing business.

Then I looked over to Beales and wondered how long it will go on before the owners decide enough is enough.

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Where did it all go wrong? How did we let the dismantling of the Great British high street happen?

High rents and business rates are no doubt a huge issue. Tesco, Sainsbury’s and other big names like Next leaving the town centre are also very telling factors. But, ultimately, is it all down to market forces? People still need goods like food, household essentials, clothes, shoes and even luxury items.

Older readers will remember Montague Street on Saturdays being packed from morning to late afternoon.

It had everything and people flocked to the town centre to shop – and this was at a time when the population of Worthing was almost 25 per cent less than now.

Online shopping has to take the majority of the blame, but looking at the sales figures for out-of-town superstores, it is clear where people go to shop when they are not in front of the computers.

As I said, a sad fact on some many levels.

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