Wednesday, 2 April 2008


Regular reader, Chas Jones has reported the rumour that Primark in Margate is to close in two months time. This is not the first time that this rumour has come to my attention.

I sent Norah out to get some upto date pictures and I apologise for the quality but without realising it, she has caught the desolation of Margate's 'lower' High Street on a damp April evening, perfectly.

As you will be aware, YATESs pulled the plug on their Margate bar with only one weeks notice, and what are the odds that Primark will cease operations as suddenly? Sadly, such is the management style of modern business, the last to be told are likely to be the staff actually working there.

Why is Primark likely to close? The picture below might help explain the problem.

An 'arty farty' picture of Margate's Lifeboatman painted onto the boarding of a closed shop next door does not attract the public, nor does FOUR closed shops to the right of Primark in this picture. The harsh reality is that Primark's footfall past the store and into the store is probably way down on the past 2 years and is in free-fall. When you are stacking them high and selling them cheap (clothes that is) you rely on high turn-over.

A drop in turn-over is disastrous and like YATESs, a chain has eventually to decide if there will be an up-turn in trade. YATESs came to the conclusion that further decline was inevitable and perhaps Primark Head Office has come to the same conclusion?

I would suggest that Westwood Cross has been a disaster for our Town Centres and TDC under various 'regimes' is entirely to blame for this state of affairs. What do you think?


Anonymous said...

I hope they stay! Where else can you buy a whole years wardrobe and have change from a £20!

There again, M&S swore blind ( well at least promised the council! ) that they would stay in Margate after their new build at Westwood Crass!

Margate is the Cafe cultural centre of Europe. The only town to only have cafes, and sod all else!

Anonymous said...

I presume the shop next door with the picture of a lifeboat man is or was Henry's. An old established firm.
I heartily agree that Westwood Cross had killed the towns of Margate and Ramsgate.
I loathe the place.

bertie biggles said...

Henry's is still hanging on and is still to the left of the lifeboat chappie.

Anonymous said...

I know the manageress at primark and they took delivery of new tills yesterday and are due for a refit later on in the year,the store in Margate she assures me is one of the busiest and is always packed out,also they own the building and she has been told the refit will be enable them to have more stock..

bertie biggles said...

I sincerely hope this will be the case! I wonder if it is the only attraction for many to come into Margate for shopping?

Anonymous said...

i think primark is probably the only place that still attracts a high number of customers, and sadly it's the only reason i ever go shopping in margate.

Tony Beachcomber said...

I am one of these people that really hates shopping it is so dull and boring. Wherever I go most shops are clones and are more or less the same. I just cannot see how Margate high street can be regenerated with shops as the same as everywhere else. Perhaps a few shops are necessary for local needs but to attract people something has to be different.Perhaps hobby and specialist shops like a row of antique/collectors shops may help. But I think a reveiw of the unified business rate needs to be done in regeneration areas.

bertie biggles said...

I think that would help. Henry's still provides a 'niche' which perhaps explains its survival, Tony.

Anonymous said...

It said in the Gazette that it would be refitted later this year and expanded on as it is so busy.

Anonymous said...

Yates's went bust. That has nothing to do with Westwood Cross. The rest is probably fair comment, but our high streets were dying long before Westwood Cross was even thought of.

This isn't a problem specific to Thanet, high streets are dying all over the place and the British public are the ones that are guilty. How many of us shop in Asda, Tesco and Sainsbury's, rather than in all the small shops? The internet added another blow, before Westwood Cross finished it off.

There is no reason why Margate couldn't copy Broadstairs' example, with it's restaurants, bars and cafes. It will just take time and some positive thinking wouldn't do any harm either!

I have to say that in general, the Thanet blogs that I read seem to have an air of bitterness to them. There is very little praise for anything new and lots of trips down memory lane.

Anonymous said...

Its a real pity that Margate high street and town centre is a ghost town. The few pathetic cafes in the old town which the council think contribute as cafe culture are a joke. The council wouldn't know regeneration if it hit them in the face.

I'd love to know how much longer Woolworths and Boots will stay for. I was so surprised that Pizza Hut closed .

Anonymous said...

I thought Primark was moving up to westwood cross where homebase used to be, that would be a great spot if they did.


Anonymous said...

thank you