Will WH Smith help High Street trade?

Echo: Moving in – the shop in Billericay High Street which will become WH Smith Moving in – the shop in Billericay High Street which will become WH Smith

A NEW WH Smith store is to open in a shopping centre, bucking the national economic gloom.

The store is to open in Billericay High Street in the spring, selling books, newspapers, stationery and magazines.

However, traders believe the opening could be a “double-edged sword” for the town.

Trevor Draper, owner of the Cook Shop and former chairman of the chamber of commerce, said the new store could have a negative impact on the town’s thriving independent shops.

He said: “I really welcome the news about the new WH Smith cautiously. I think it could be a double-edged sword for Billericay. While I am pleased the empty store is going to be filled, I think another national retailer could have a negative impact on the High Street.

“Billericay has a certain feel to it and the mix of independent retailers we have is what makes it special.

“I am afraid the new shop could take business away from established shops. Often, when national retailers come to high streets they don’t think about what other stores are presently there.”

WH Smith said it could not confirm how many new jobs would be created, but the new store would be opening next month.

Phil Turner, a ward councillor for Billericay, added: “I understand where Trevor is coming from, but I also welcome the news WH Smith has chosen to open in the town. The town centre has a good mix of independent and national retailers and I think it really works. I see this as a great addition to the High Street and I think it will do really well.”

The new store will be setting up shop in the former Yours premises, which closed in October last year.

A spokesman for WH Smith added: “WH Smith is delighted to be opening a new store in Billericay this spring.

“Customers will be able to access a wide range of WH Smith products, including books, stationery, newspapers and magazines, and we look forward to welcoming our customers into the new store.”

Comments (6)

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11:22am Thu 1 Mar 12

Valentino says...

If Billericay doesn't want the shop, we'll have it on Canvey.

It will give a bit of variety in the way of books and stationary as opposed to the very limited stock in Sainsbury's, Morrison's and the 99p Store.

It doesn't even have to be a very big shop and can go where Choices or Savers was located.
If Billericay doesn't want the shop, we'll have it on Canvey. It will give a bit of variety in the way of books and stationary as opposed to the very limited stock in Sainsbury's, Morrison's and the 99p Store. It doesn't even have to be a very big shop and can go where Choices or Savers was located. Valentino

11:26am Thu 1 Mar 12

Rayleigh mum says...

they can come to Rayleigh! would plug the big hole left by Woolworths, although there is not currently any empty store large enough to accommodate them.
they can come to Rayleigh! would plug the big hole left by Woolworths, although there is not currently any empty store large enough to accommodate them. Rayleigh mum

2:13pm Thu 1 Mar 12

VANGE LES says...

W H Smith not good enough for the stuck-up people of Billericay then.
W H Smith not good enough for the stuck-up people of Billericay then. VANGE LES

2:55pm Thu 1 Mar 12

Nebs says...

Trevor Draper ... said: “.. when national retailers come to high streets they don’t think about what other stores are presently there.”
On the contrary, I would have thought they do their homework and if they think there is either a gap in the market or a competitor they can outsmart, they will go for it.
Trevor Draper ... said: “.. when national retailers come to high streets they don’t think about what other stores are presently there.” On the contrary, I would have thought they do their homework and if they think there is either a gap in the market or a competitor they can outsmart, they will go for it. Nebs

6:36pm Thu 1 Mar 12

johnny foreigner says...

Lets face it, WHS is going to favour a town with a customer base that is largely literate. I welcome their decision to locate in Billy.
Lets face it, WHS is going to favour a town with a customer base that is largely literate. I welcome their decision to locate in Billy. johnny foreigner

9:13am Fri 2 Mar 12

crowny says...

At last ! I needed to go to Smiths last week to procure some supplies and had to endure going into Baso town centre. Dear god, what an awful place that has become
At last ! I needed to go to Smiths last week to procure some supplies and had to endure going into Baso town centre. Dear god, what an awful place that has become crowny

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