Shoppers react to closure of Eastbourne department stores
Changing retail habits, business rates, rents and a failure to move with the times have been blamed for the awaited departure of two Eastbourne retail giants.
Readers have expressed shock and sadness at the announcement that TJ Hughes will close next month as well as confirmation today that Debenhams in Terminus Road is also set to close in 2020.
Many of those commenting on social media have said their thoughts are with those losing their job, such as the 40 staff members or so employed at TJ Hughes.
Paul Bendall said times were changing. He wrote: “People are buying online rather than on the High Street. Amazon is the new department store. It doesn’t help that business rates and rental is high for the High Street.”
Chris Von Beaverhause added that it was the ‘old establishments that don’t move with the times that lose out’, adding ‘bear in mind everything that we have delivered now, each of those used to be a trip to the shops’.
Other readers were concerned that the two large stores on Terminus Road could significantly impact on the feel of the town centre area, which is undergoing an extensive regeneration.
Hazel Coates said it would leave ‘a gaping boarded up hole in our newly revamped town centre’, while Claire Carpenter lamented the loss of the experience a department store offered as ‘a real tragedy’.
Jane Dubery blamed the Beacon shopping centre and shifting bus stops for leading shoppers to a different part of town and said their should be better signage to direct would-be customers.
But others felt more positive about the future of Eastbourne.
Adam McNaught-Davis wrote: “Very tough for everyone who’s losing their job - a reflection of the changing demographic of the town perhaps, and certainly shopping habits.
“But with creative thought great opportunities for these central spaces (Debs too) in future thanks to the Beacon and regeneration of Terminus Rd at the seaside end.
“As a non-TJHughes shopper I’m kinda excited to see what’s around the corner.”