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Shops booming in St Ives – but not in Penzance

By The Cornishman  |  Posted: September 06, 2012

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ST IVES is bucking the trend of increasing numbers of empty shops after being named one of the top performers in the region.

Meanwhile, Penzance has narrowly missed out on making it into the top ten worst towns in the South West for vacant shops, a survey shows.

In St Ives, which boasts of being a year-round destination, only 4 per cent of shops were empty, making it the sixth best performer in the region – an improvement on last year.

In Penzance it was found that 16 per cent of premises were vacant – an increase of 5.4 per cent on last year.

The Local Data Company's (LDC) latest shop vacancy report looked at 506 town centres and 145,000 shops across the UK.

St Ives deputy mayor Colin Nicholls, who has run Colenso and Co DIY there for 45 years, put the success down to the town offering clean and attractive shopping.

"I watch some places complaining about not doing business, but so many towns leave their shops looking scruffy," he said, adding that second home owners deserved credit for keeping the town thriving.

"In St Ives we have a good mix of the locals' market, the second home owners' and the visitor market."

The Mayor of St Ives, Councillor Ron Tulley, added: "Essentially we have a high footfall – that's the secret of finding tenants for shops. They want customers. St Ives has a high footfall all year round, not just in the summer season but the rest of the year too, because of things like Tate St Ives and the September Festival."

In Penzance, where the picture is less positive, Dick Cliffe, chairman of the chamber of commerce, said the town had yet to achieve its full potential. "But it does have huge potential and that needs exploiting," he said. "People who live here know it's a charming town and that it has a lot going for it. We just need to fill up some of the empty sites and do a bit of work."

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