Independent Chichester business to close city centre site

Carl will still be running the business online
Carl will still be running the business online

An independent business in Chichester is set to close its only site for good on February 16.

Guitar Sound, in St Pancras, will operate as online business with the owner citing rising rents, decreasing footfall, and tight margins as the main reasons.

Carl Whiteside, 37, from Barnham, has run the shop for six years but made clear that while the premises is shutting, 'Guitar Sound fights on.'

He said: "It was around about October last year just looking at the figures for 2018 I think I came to the realisation that the footfall and customer spend isn't as strong as it used to be. The rent increase last time I renewed about two years ago, it was about a 30 per cent increase.

"I think rent and rates is always a lot of money for any retailer here. The church, who I rent this from, actually the amount of money I pay for this shop is quite reasonable in context of the other people here. I think it's more about the nature of this industry, the margins on things are so small that it's just impossible to make enough money to support a decent rent.

"I will miss the face-to-face side of it and the characters and you do meet all sorts of weird and wonderful guys and that's been really enjoyable but I sort of feel like I'm personally supporting the shop now.

"Support has been fantastic, we've met some fantastic guitarists. I've been absolutely astounded at how many local players can really play guitar. It's been thoroughly enjoyable and I've enjoyed having the shop and being part of the Chichester community."

Carl said there are aspirations for the future of a different style of business venture of a guitar members club specialising in high-end guitars.

He added: "It would be a different way of doing it, a different way of looking at retail."

Customers will still be able to contact Carl online through Guitar Sound's Facebook page and Instagram page.