Chichester traders need your help – that is the message today as the Observer launches its ‘Love Your Local Shops’ campaign.
The call to action follows news of falling footfall on the city’s high street.
Chichester Business Improvement District (BID) chairman Colin Hicks earlier this month told councillors there had been a 30 per cent drop in summer footfall – coupled with a 25 per cent decline since the 2008 banking crash.
The fall, Chichester District Council’s overview and scrutiny committee heard, was five per cent higher than the reduction experienced nationally.
The Observer, your trusted source of news since 1887, knows the city centre is far better than the statistics say.
Our campaign will highlight its virtues, with a major focus on the tremendous number of independent businesses we know you value so highly. It will be run in tandem with the BID’s Independents Month, which we also welcome.
We will discuss how Chichester’s long-term Vision project could help businesses and we want your thoughts on how the city centre can be improved to boost its fortunes.
Commenting on the campaign launch, BID manager Charlotte Wickens said: “Chichester BID is very pleased that the Chichester Observer has decided to run a campaign to highlight that Chichester is open for business and discuss where trade can be improved.
“Footfall is always good when the sun shines but it’s important to actively seek to collaborate to raise Chichester’s profile, all year round.”
High streets are facing unprecedented challenges. Among the principle issues is the threat of the internet, which Mr Hicks said could account for around 18 per cent of the 25 per cent drop.
But he also raised the idea that Chichester’s offer is vast – yet few know the true extent of it.
He said: “The offering in Chichester is absolutely massive but not yet known and the question is how can we get it more well known so we can up the demand?
“Working with the district council and other bodies, how can we get Chichester more demand led, rather than supply driven?”
A celebration of everything local in Chichester begins this Saturday with the start of Independents Month.
Run by Chichester BID, throughout the entire month of July, businesses that epitomise the uniqueness of our historic city will be cherished and promoted.
What does that mean for shoppers? Some fantastic offers and promotions from a huge range of businesses that are not to be missed.
Visit www.love-where-u-live.com to find out what special offers are available.
Chichester BID is also hosting a free networking event at Edes House, West Street, Chichester, on Thursday, July 13, from 3pm to 5pm.
Observer staff will attend with other media outlets to meet independent business owners.
Traders can also add their business to the directory any time and the new hub for special offers and promotions will go live to the public this Saturday.
Elsewhere, there appears to be no problem with the number of jobs on offer in the city.
Jo Hoare, manager of Adecco in Chichester, said: “We have jobs across the board from short-term summer roles to full-time posts for graduates, which we just can’t fill in Chichester this summer.”
We want you to tell us what you love about our historic city, and also what shops and businesses you’d like to see move in to attract more visitors to Chichester.
Email your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org with your address and telephone number.
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