How has business been in the past year? Trading has been strong over the last year. Destination businesses are very weather dependent, so the snow in March hit us hard. We had a strong Easter followed by a dry and sunny summer, and recorded solid trading despite the constant construction site building our new extension from July to October. Our two 2018 expansions - Food Hall and Greenhouse Cafe have benefited the business by a 25% increase on sales and visitor numbers.
What trends are you seeing in retail now and what are the main issues affecting your business both positive and negative? The swing from high street retail to rural destinations continues as destination businesses need to be offering more than just retail, and try to envelope retail with leisure. Our biggest challenge is business rates currently. Often councils seek to help struggling high street retail but pass this burden onto successful rural businesses and it’s more than time to overhaul this in favour of a fairer modernised and progressive taxation.
How do you see bricks and mortar shops shaping in the future? The future of retailing is strong, despite what we may read in the press. Shopping has to be a pleasurable experience that offers more than the simple purchase. This means retailers must work harder to attract the customer in, engage it with browsing and inspirational ideas, and offer diversity of products to suit all tastes.