Epworth in top five of retail independents

Shops in Epworth.  (Buy this photo E1825TS) Picture: Tony Saxton
Shops in Epworth. (Buy this photo E1825TS) Picture: Tony Saxton
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Epworth is among the top five towns nationally for having the highest percentage of independent retailers, it has been revealed.

New data shows that Epworth is ranked not far behind London’s Portobello Road when it comes to independent businesses, with a 91.9 per cent figure for Epworth and 95.1 for Portobello, the national leader.

A Leicester suburb also features within the top five independent towns, along with Birmingham and Ilford.

Chair of Epworth Town Council, Bob Fish, welcomed the news that Epworth is seen to be forging ahead in the retail line.

He said: “We seem to be flying the Independent banner. I would say it is more of a puff than an explosion in terms of Epworth, but it’s good that people are coming in to Epworth to start their businesses.

“I like to see the town vibrant and successful and this report obviously points that way, although parking problems can arise at times.

“It does appear Epworth is the jewel in North Lincolnshire’s retailing crown that it is reputed to be. I’m happy it is seen to be developing a strong and successful core.”

The report listing Epworth’s popularity was compiled by the Local Data Company, which is the UK’s leader in retail location data and insight, employing a number of research techniques.

Over all, data showed that traditional independent shops and leisure acount for 66 per cent of all retail and leisure units in Britain, and have marginally opened more stores than they closed during 2014 in town centres, as chain stores continue to show a retreat.

The North East is seen to have the greatest change of fortunes, after reversing a net decline of -0.75 per cent in 2013 to positive growth of 0.68 per cent.

Beauty salons, tobacconists and e-cigarette shops, mobile phone and take-away food outlets are all key to growth.

Michael Weedon, Deputy Chief Executive of the British Independent Retailers’ Association said: “Prospects for high streets have been brightened for the past four years by the net growth in the numbers of independent retailers.”