'The nail in King Street's coffin' - Gazette readers react to closure of WH Smith in South Shields
South Shields shoppers have hailed the closure of another town-centre store as the final nail in the coffin of high street shopping.
WH Smith has confirmed it will shut its branch in the town – in King Street – in October when the lease on the building expires.
The retailer announced earlier this month that it was beginning a consultation with staff at a national level as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, with up to 1,500 jobs at risk of being cut.
It is estimated that around 14 of WH Smith’s stores will close after a “slow” recovery from lockdown, with most of the cuts hitting sites in train stations and airports.
The Office for National Statistics said 730,000 people have been taken off payrolls since the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis in March.
Writing on our Facebook page, Gazette readers said the “golden era” of high street shopping is over up and down the country.
Others called for something new to attract visitors and shoppers to the town to spend their money.
This is what you said on the Shields Gazette Facebook page:
Nikki Petters: “Sad times but after lockdown and redundancies and Debenhams we knew this was going to happen it's just the start, lot more by December 2020.”
Mark Graham Manson-Gibson: “You’ll never drag it back to its golden era, it's gone now. The high street is all over, bar a few shops, internet's killed it all off.”
Lianne Moutrey: “I've said for a while that the Nook is like our town centre shopping now. King Street is dead.”
Sarah Jane Jones-Wilson: “So sad another shop gone.”
Simon Buck: “We need something that will attract people from outside of Shield to come and spend their money.”
Rob Mackins: “This isn’t unique to Shields. High streets in towns of our size will be a thing of the past up and down the country.”
Steve Eglintine: “So our high street is now The Nook, more shops and always busy.”
Kristan Carman: “That’s the nail in King Street’s coffin!”