THE Wilko store in the St Elli Centre will not be closing as was announced in July. The closure raised concerns from shoppers and retailers in Llanelli who said that the closure would have a massive negative impact on the town, which has already seen its fair share of store closures of late.

High streets in Wales have been hit badly as consumers turn to online shopping. Many of the retail giants have vanished from shopping centres with analysts predicting the trend will continue.

According to some reports at least 16 shops close down in the U.K every day. Some retailers are calling for the government to step in and have demanded a review of business rates and other taxes to ensure there is a level playing field with online rivals.

The announcement that the store will get a reprieve and stay open for at least another few years was welcomed by people in Llanelli today, Wednesday (Sep 11).

Barrie Lewis from Llanelli Market said: “I am absolutely delighted on virtually all counts particularly for the staff who will maintain their jobs. I am particularly happy for the town and those people who come to the town and especially for the small businesses in Llanelli.”

Asked about the decline of the high street and whether there was hope for business in Llanelli the market retailer said: “I certainly think there is always hope. If one is in business and doesn’t have optimism then one should get out. I do hope that the optimism can be translated to the local authority’s regeneration department and that they will work closely with independent retailers asking them what they feel is going to be of benefit to the town and not just asking the opinion of retail analysts.”

Mr Lewis pointed out that had the store closed the owners would still have had to pay the council rates.

You can listen to the interviews with residents and retailers here:

When we were Llanelli Borough the town was thriving. There is only one town in Carmarthenshire and that is Carmarthen. These people don’t seem to care about here or Ammanford. Everything is going into Carmarthen. I blame the council. There should be free parking. Llanelli Town Council are not interested, as long as they get their money they don’t rock the boat.

John Griffiths

In need of help: Llanelli’s High Street

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