Newcomers to Uckfield High Street reflect a move away from retail

Uckfield High Street is gradually changing with newcomers tending to offer social activities and services rather than goods for sale, according to commercial agent Chris Lawson. 

He has noticed this trend across Wealden towns and says part of the reason is internet shopping.

“It is possible to buy so much on the internet these days and in Uckfield we have seen a number of retailers come out of retail premises because they can't compete with the internet where traders don't need the overheads of running a shop,” said Chris, of Lawson Commercial.

The people moving in tend to be those that can't do business on the internet such as key cutting, shoe repairs, letting agencies, cafes and restaurants and other more socially driven activities, said Chris.

He adds that while once there were three places to hire videos or DVDs there is now only Blockbusters.

There used to be two independents selling CDs but now there is only Tesco.

“I do wonder about the future of shopping. Where are the young guys starting out? Who is going to build the businesses that become High Street chains?

“We are not seeing the start up businesses that we used to see and that is because it is not as simple as putting a display in the window then finding everyone flocks to buy.”

He was concerned about the effect of the looming increase in VAT at a time of increasing pressure on household budgets.

“From a retailer's perspective this is not good because they depend on people going out and spending their money. This is something they don't have to do and the VAT increase could make a difference to spending.”

On the other hand some Uckfield retailers are demonstrating confidence at the moment.

Our Personal Shopper feature last month reported that Chameleon was starting a new menswear section and the September column, which has gone live today, reports further expansion in the pipeline.

There's also been investment in a re-fit at Fross Wedding Collections which we tell you more about in Personal Shopper.

You can also read there about other High Street changes and the latest stock to arrive in our shops and special offers.

See also:

Business Scene: Down on the farm something big is growing

Bus dwellers allowed to stay in Blackboys

Permission given for new doctors' surgery at Buxted

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