North Suffolk: Taylor Electrical stores to close with loss of 23 jobs

A LONG-established electrical goods retailer with four shops in Suffolk and Norfolk is set to close within the next few months, with the loss of 23 jobs.

For the last 90 years, Taylor Electrical has traded in the eastern region, but the company’s four shops in Beccles, Diss, Halesworth and Mildenhall are set to close due to the effects of the economic downturn and competition from the internet.

However, the closure has shocked civic leaders and customers in the four towns, who spoke of their sadness another independent retailer, which had been part of the fabric of the town, was set to close.

South Norfolk councillor Tony Palmer, who represents Diss, spoke of his disappointment at the closure of the Diss store in Victoria Road.

He added: “I think it is always sad to see a long-established business feeling it must close down. It is sad, but there is obviously competition from the internet. I certainly wish the manager and staff there the best because they are very nice people.”

He rejected claims made by some customers that free parking would have helped the Diss shop, adding that the store should have been helped by the free parking provided by the Morrisons and Tesco supermarkets opposite.

Beccles mayor Graham Catchpole said it was a real disappointment for the town to be losing its store in Common Lane North. The store used to have an electricians department, but this closed two years ago.

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He said: “I think it is really sad as they have been there for many, many years. It is a setback for the town and for Smallgate.”

He added: “It is right in the heart of the shopping centre, where we don’t want another shop going.”

The Taylor Electrical store in Mildenhall High Street will also close.

Malcolm Smith, chairman of Mildenhall Parish Council, said: “It’s sad to see it go and that we’re going to lose another shop. It’s a nice size shop so hopefully someone else will go in there.”

Neville Short, 43, manager of the Diss store, blamed a growing trend for shoppers to buy goods online and the economic downturn for the decision to close.

Figures showed internet sales nationally rose 18pc in December compared to December 2011.

Mr Short said: “I thought when I came here I would have a job for life and I think everybody thinks that way, but unfortunately with the way the current financial climate is and the way peoples’ shopping habits have changed that is no longer the case.”

Customer Simon Leggett, 59, of Main Road, Wortwell said he often shopped at the Diss Taylor shop and was visiting yesterday to buy an iron.

He said he was sad the shop was closing, adding: “Unfortunately, I think the councils don’t help things. There should be free parking in the town and a reduction in business rates.

“This building will probably stay empty now and the landlord won’t be getting any rent.”

Lynn Clarke, 63, of Laxfield Road, Stradbroke, dropped in to buy a starter motor for a kitchen light. She said: “It is sad. It is a local business. There is not much competition in Diss, only Hughes.”

Daisy Aves, from Thelnetham, believed high rents were the reason why smaller retailers were closing, adding: “It is very sad and unfortunate that all these stores are closing down.”