Speculation begins over Dorothy Perkins replacementBy Jon Nurse
January 10, 2013
Speculation has started over which retailer could move into the Dorothy Perkins and Burton unit in the town centre.
The fashion giant is due to permanently close its Market Place store on Saturday, with the loss of 10 jobs.
Mark Walton, president of Wokingham Chamber of Commerce, said: “Shops moving out of the town centre is not a good thing – but the question is who is going to occupy it next?
“It’s one of the larger units in the town, which makes it more significant.
“Whether a large company will want to come into a market town is a question of if their investment will be recouped. A lot are concentrating on internet sales and retracting their properties into big towns and cities.”
Mr Walton believes towns like Wokingham need to offer something special to attract shoppers and big name stores in the current financial market.
“We need to concentrate on what Wokingham is best at and everyone is saying that is the market town feel,” he said.
“We need Wokingham Borough Council to push ahead with the regeneration. I know there are some big decisions to be made but we have to get on with it.”
The Wokingham Times revealed in August that Dorothy Perkins would be closing.
Staff say they were told the clothing chain had decided to end its lease after an agreement couldn’t be reached with the landlord.
But the borough council believes the move is in line with parent company Arcadia’s property strategy to close around 10 per cent of its stores due to a 38 per cent fall in annual profits.