‘Town centre should become outlet village’By Lucy Allen
March 24, 2009
Bracknell should model itself on Bicester Village and become a shoppers' heaven, according to a trader.
Ron Taylor, who runs Ron Taylor Carpets in Broadway, believes the town should have a collection of shops selling cut-price fashion would bring women flocking to the town.
It would attract shoppers with premium fashion names at cheap prices, create variety and help traders like him.
Ron, who has run his shop for 25 years and been in the carpet trade for 35 years, says town centre bosses need to get a group of retailers together and suggest they all come to Bracknell with outlet shops.
He said: “We need to get 20 retail shops and get the mixture right.
“This town needs a USP, and the attraction of Bracknell is cheapness.
“People might say it would be downmarket but it could go like Bicester Village or Swindon outlets – I don’t think of them as downmarket.
“We could have a Dolce & Gabbana outlet, that would bring in people from Ascot who don’t come here normally.
“Or we could have Primark or TK Maxx.
“The thing is to attract the women. Women do 70 per cent of the shopping and if you are not catering for women, you are dead in the water. ”
Ron reckons town bosses need to make the idea attractive to fashion chains which might be put off by the short leases on offer due to the town centre regeneration.
He said: “You give them six months rent-free so they can fit out the shops and then take a percentage of the sales. They will come for that.”
Ron says he will survive the recession whatever happens. He said: “This year we will be 50 per cent down. And this recession will be different to the last one.
“We are established and we offer a personal service, as well as good prices. I’ve got people who have been coming in here for years.”
Ron’s idea came in response to the Keep Trade Local campaign launched by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and supported by The Standard and its sister papers.
The FSB has published a Keep Trade Local manifesto which sets out areas where the Government could make changes to help small businesses.
It includes recommendations that towns should have a range of affordable business units available to stop small businesses being forced out by big retail chains.
It also asks councils to make parking a priority, says profitable post offices should not be closed in any circumstances, and says local businesses must be given more information about which council contracts are coming up for tender so they can bid for them.
For more on the FSB campaign, log on to www.fsb.org.uk.