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

We hope our regular readers, old and new, have a Happy New Year. What we mustn’t lose sight of is the fact 2021 could be another bumpy one. The end of this year could see the loss of a few familiar High Street names. We might get to have a pub pint by then!

On New Year’s Eve, more parts of England fell under Tier 4, which means the closure of non-essential retail premises. This is due to another more contagious mutation of COVID-19 first seen in the South East of England. Our City Region also fell into Tier 4, which means travel for essential means, such as exercising or shopping for much-needed items.

Two new tenants for Crown Point North

Crown Point North will be getting two high profile tenants at the south-western corner of the retail park. The first one is another coffee shop. With the exception of concessions at The Village hotels in Ashton Moss and Hyde, it will get Tameside’s first ever branch of Starbucks Coffee. This will be next to Nando’s and (until cafés are allowed to reopen for eating in) takeaway only for the foreseeable future.

The second tenant will be ALDI. They will be taking on the former M&S Outlet unit. By the Spring of this year, ALDI and Lidl will be a motorway footbridge apart. Denton will have four superstores over 12,000 square feet.

Retail closures

Peacocks and Bon Marché

The beginning of this year will see the loss of Edinburgh Woollen Mill’s store chains, particularly Bon Marché and Peacocks. There are closing down sales at Peacocks’ branches in Ashton-under-Lyne, Droylsden and Hyde, and at Bon Marché stores in Ashton-under-Lyne and Hyde.

Argos

As announced last year, Sainsburys is going ahead with plans to close its standalone Argos stores. Since the first lockdown, some of its standalone stores have closed with staff being furloughed. Hyde’s branch is one of them. Sadly, it will be one of the first branches to close down.

In the next five years, Sainsburys will have moved 150 of their Argos stores into its superstores. A further 150 to 200 collection points will be created.

Shoe Zone

Hyde’s branch of Shoe Zone is also having a closing down sale. The footwear chain’s branch in the Clarendon Mall Shopping Centre is one of 45 that the chain is offloading up to this April. They have blamed an antiquated Business Rates system and expect to close another 45 stores after the next rent re-evaluation.

Retail Openings

It hasn’t all been doom and gloom in our shopping centres over the last month. Ashton-under-Lyne has seen the arrival of a new addition and the movement of a market stall to a shop unit.

At the Ladysmith Shopping Centre, one of the new shops is Chicks Like Cheeky. Situated on Staveleigh Mall, it is a womenswear shop with clothing at cut prices. Making a move from market stall to shop unit is Cockneys Toys. A few years back, they started out on the open market. Then they moved to a stall in Ashton Indoor Market before moving to their present unit on Fletcher Street.

In Stalybridge, the Staly Mini Market opened its doors on Melbourne Street. They have taken on the former Walter Wilkinson Butchers unit which faces Savers. A new addition to Warrington Street, Ashton-under-Lyne is Goods 2 Go. It is a brand new kind of Old School White Goods Retailer. A visit to their website shows a counter with the resurrected DER slogan of ‘Come And Play’.

Forthcoming Planning Applications

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

  • Plans have been submitted for the conversion of 5 – 7 Old Street, St. Michael’s Square, Ashton-under-Lyne into a Guest House.
  • The first floor unit of 9 – 11 High Street, Stanley Square, Stalybridge could become a flat. Further plans include the remodelling of the shopfront at ground floor level.
  • A former travel agent (which was previously Nawabi Balti) on 160 – 164 Market Street, Hyde, could become a hot food takeaway.
  • An imposing office on 14 Victoria Street, Denton, could be converted into four self-contained flats.
  • Plans have been submitted for the erection of a new building with drive-through facilities on an Ashton ASDA car park. The building in question, off Cavendish Street, could be Ashton’s first fully-fledged branch of Starbucks Coffee. At present rates, every shop in the borough could be a Starbucks Coffee in 2099.

Retail Movements

Little to report; a short but sweet update again.

  • As mentioned in greater detail, the forthcoming closures of Peacocks, Bon Marché, Argos and Shoe Zone (Hyde only).
  • The TUI Group chain of travel agencies has left the Tameside area with its business transferring to the Manchester Fort retail park. Shortly after the closure of Stalybridge’s last travel agent, Ashton’s branch followed.

Pub and club update

As we speak, Greater Manchester’s pubs are still dry under Tier 4 status (unless they are able to open for off-sales). Therefore, our updates will be in more truncated form than in previous months.

In the last month, we have seen the loss of the excellent Ashton Tap House. On Manchester Road, Droylsden, the permanent depubification of The Royal Oak is inevitable. Plans have been posted for its conversion into nine apartments and a commercial unit in its car park.

*                     *                    *

Next Month:

Our next Ashton Review of Shops will be out on the 06 February 2021 at the usual time of 9am. Who knows where we’ll be next month? As always, feel free to add your observations.

S.V., 02 January 2021.

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