A shop selling cut-price books in Preston has closed its doors because it can’t compete with a charity store giving them away for free next door.
The Book Clearance Centre, one of the longest-serving businesses in the city’s Fishergate Centre, has called time after 23 years, putting five staff out of work.
Managing director Rob Greenley revelaed: “Seeing this shop, which gives away free books, open next door was the final nail in the coffin for us.
“We have five staff that will now be looking for another job and the Fishergate Centre is losing another shop.
“I realise we are in tough economic times, but surely the centre management ought to be encouraging retail shops to stay open rather than allow a charity shop to open which gives away books and is run by volunteers. How can that be right? How can that be good for the centre?”
The Book Clearance Centre first opened in the Fishergate Centre in 1991, but has been hit by the recession.
Rob claimed the Centre management would not help with a rent reduction – and then allowed a charity book shop to open in a neighbouring unit on what he suspects is a rent-free deal.
Despite the difficult trading times Rob had hoped to stay open and keep the five-strong team in work. He said his management team had been trying to work with their landlords since last summer to try and agree a rent reduction which would allow the shop to stay open.
But the final offer was described by Rob as “insulting” and so he took professional advice, which resulted in the business closing.
Rob said: “I must say thanks to all our of customers who have supported us for all these years. I am distraught that it has come to this after 23 years, but I have no option as we cannot afford to stay open as we just aren’t selling enough to pay the wages, rent, and electricity.
“I know we can compete when we are on a level playing field. But a share of our trade is now going to a place which gives away books, does not pay many of the bills we face and has no loyalty to Preston or Fishergate.”
No-one at the Fishergate Centre was available for comment.