This month’s semi-reopened window on the shop windows

At this time of writing, four days have passed since the second lockdown. Greater Manchester is back in Tier 3, which in layperson’s terms is a watered-down version of the lockdown we came out of earlier. It means, for at least a fortnight (best case scenario), we cannot go to the pub.

Across the UK, the prognosis for wet-led pubs (which makes up a substantial chunk of Tameside’s licensed premises) and bricks and mortar stores is very grim.

Poundland takes on former M&S unit

Yesterday, Poundland took on the former Bargain Buys (and Marks and Spencer) unit at Ladysmith Shopping Centre. Compared with the former Woolworths unit (opened by Joe Swash in Autumn 2009), there will be twice as much space. This would see the Pep and Co section being given greater prominence. Frozen food will be introduced to the store, giving Iceland and Heron a real run for their money.

Ashton’s new Poundland store is one of five branches that will open this weekend. The others are in Grantham, Dungannon, Tallaght, and Sutton-in-Ashfield. The Ashton-under-Lyne is the only one of the five in a town centre location (the other four are based in retail parks).

With both the first floor and (most of the) ground floor of the Arcades’ ex-Woolworths unit, we wonder who the next tenants are going to be.

Small Business Saturday

Though the pandemic has meant the lack of traditional Christmas festivities on our High Street, Small Business Saturday has been unimpeded. Now in its eighth year, this day not only celebrates our independent shops. It supports any small to medium sized business, whether they have a physical presence or not. Also dentists, event management companies and garages.

If you go to the Small Business Saturday website, more than 50 Tameside businesses have showed their support. You can visit their Small Business Finder page, then enter your postcode on the interactive map. In a few moments, up to 50 businesses will appear as map pins.

For further updates, you can follow them on Twitter (@SmallBizSatUK), Facebook, and Instagram.

TAC Tales

With most of Ashton-under-Lyne Bus Station Mark III totally razed to the ground, there are rumours circulating over its next use. It has been said that a zombie car park might take its place. If correct, would this be a permanent solution or a stopgap till the Arcades’ mothballed extension comes to fruition?

Following the end of our second lockdown, Tameside MBC’s public libraries have reopened. All of the borough’s libraries for the foreseeable future will only open during their staffed hours (which means there is no Open+ service).

Retail redundancies and closures

Up to the very day when non-essential retail stores reopened, there was bad news for employees in the Arcadia Group stores with the loss of 13,000 jobs. The multi-channel fashion retailer headed by Philip Green went into receivership. As JD Sports’ bid to buy Debenhams fell through, the New Year will see the loss of Debenhams stores on our High Street. Again with a similar number of job losses.

On a local level, this affects the Arcadia Group’s Wallis/Burton/Dorothy Perkins/Evans store on Crown Point North, Denton. A little further afield from our borough, the departure of Debenhams will affect shoppers at their Oldham, Stockport and Manchester stores.

Bonmarché, is in administration for the second time this year. RSM Restructuring Advisory aims to save its 225 stores as part of a rescue deal, which will save 1,500 jobs.

Carry On At Your Convenience Store (2)

Within a month of the opening of Dukinfield’s One Stop store, the NISA supermarket on the corner of King Street and Chapel Street (former NatWest Bank) has opened.

Forthcoming Planning Applications

A bit quiet? With our retail and commercial premises, yes.

  • Plans have been submitted for the installation of mobile phone masts outside The Wheatsheaf public house in Dukinfield and on the junction of Oldham Road/Langham Road in Waterloo.
  • The former Homeland Estate Agents office on 274 Manchester Road, Audenshaw could become a pizza takeaway shop.

Retail Movements

Little to report; a short but sweet update again.

  • As mentioned in greater detail, Poundland has moved from the Arcades Shopping Centre to the Ladysmith Shopping Centre.
  • Despite a petition, The Cooperative Bank has finally closed its doors in Ashton-under-Lyne.

Pub and club update

Even after the officially mandated England-wide second lockdown, our borough’s pubs are still in some sort of lockdown due to Greater Manchester’s Tier 3 Status. As a consequence, none of our City Region’s pubs are able to open for anything other than off-sales.

Hopefully, our pubs will reopen in some form, should we get ‘promoted’ to Tier 2. This would mean any public house could stay open till 11pm (last orders at 10pm) so long as they serve a ‘substantial meal’. Of late, the definition of Substantial Meal has changed from being a roast beef dinner to a hot beef sandwich.

*                     *                    *

Next Month:

Our next Ashton Review of Shops will be out on the 02 January 2021 at the usual time of 9am. We hope you have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Hopefully, socially distanced with no more than six people in your group.

If you would like to add to this month’s digest of retail movements, feel free to comment. Where is your favourite small business in the Tameside area? Drop us a line.

S.V., 05 December 2020.

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