Merton escapes full force of recession


Despite many an empty shop on Wimbledon Broadway a council report confirms Merton has avoided the impact of the recession felt by other boroughs

By Charles Forrester

MERTON has escaped the credit crunch more successfully than other London boroughs, and the rest of the UK, according to a new council report.

The report is part of the council’s monitoring of the impact of the recession on the local community and its service provision.

Councillor Diane Neil Mills presented the report to a council cabinet meeting on November 9.

“It is encouraging to see that Merton has lower unemployment than the national figures and those for the rest of London,” she said.

However, on Wimbledon Broadway there are few signs of the recession letting up, with the number of empty stores growing.

National chains are the biggest problem for shop vacancies on the Broadway.

Woolworths, which closed down almost a year ago, still remains vacant, however many other ex-Woolworths properties throughout the UK are in the same position.

Books etc, owned by American firm Borders, is also being closed down as its parent company seeks to restructure its UK operations.

It is currently in the process of liquidating its stock before its doors close for the last time in December.

In addition to this, recruitment agency Blue Arrow’s offices remain vacant, and during the past week the Dr China Herbs and Acupuncture store also closed.

It has not been all bad news for Broadway businesses however, with HMV expanding its premises to incorporate a new three-screen theatre, and the opening of Game Street.

Game Street, an independent video game store opened at the start of the month and is hoping to challenge the High Street competition.

“Unlike HMV and Game, we offer a better trade-in rate for customers,” says owner Hash Mansoor, 32.

The ten-year veteran of retail still may find some security in a chain store.

“I have some friends who also run independent computer game stores. In the future, we may come together and form a chain so that we can compete with the bigger stores.”

Merton Council’s report can be read online at:

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