Ipswich: Director of the Yippee 99p store warns of town centre exodus prompted by “crippling” business rates

The Yippee 99p store in Carr Street The Yippee 99p store in Carr Street

Thursday, February 27, 2014
9:16 AM

An independent trader has warned that “crippling” business rates will leave Ipswich town centre a retail wasteland occupied by nothing but charity shops.

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Dennis Davis, director at the 99p store Yippee, said the £9,500 monthly rates on a pound store on the Cornhill had made the business untenable and forced its closure.

“The rates were so crippling that it is not worth it to stay,” he said.“It’s ridiculous - particularly in the current climate.”

“I tried my hardest to do a deal with the council but they wouldn’t budge so we are having to hand it back to the landlord.”

The Cornhill has been the focus of a major revival campaign with a new look revealed for the site earlier this year.

The multi-million pound regeneration project has been supported by key players in the town, including Ben Gummer MP, Ipswich Borough Council and Ipswich Central. Paul Clement, chief executive of Ipswich Central, said: “This is a very important site in our town centre. We want to actively work with the owners to explore opportunities to restore it permanently to its former glory.”

However Mr Davis, who also has a Yippee store in Carr Street, Ipswich, claims independent traders will be priced out of the town centre, regardless of any plans for improvement.

He says there will be a mass exodus to retail parks where the business rates are lower, parking is free and footfall remains high. “Independent traders cannot afford to have high street shops in Ipswich,” he said. “That’s why the town is full of charity shops.

“People still want to shop in the local bakers and butchers and other independent traders – but they’re all being priced out of the market.”

39 comments

  • Yes, Norwich does get support from NCC. They promote Norwich as the jewel in the their crown. SCC almost despise us down to the political divide I suppose. unfortunately it's hip to Knock Ipswich. Who in their right mind is going to do a 50 mile round trip to Bury regularly? I hear people rave about Woodbidge, I went there the other Saturday and apart from the cheap and easy parking, what else was there. Oh yes charity shops, betting ships and of course skate boarders.

    Report this comment

    m01

    Thursday, February 27, 2014

  • Joseph; There is no rhyme or reason regarding the monitoring of this site. I once got an email from the mods advising that my post had been deleted only to find that rather than delete it they posted in twice. Anyway, PC Plod is always banging on about Muslims and foreigners he gets on my wick. I can't see why people can't be judged on their actions rather than their colour. It's a good job Jimmy Savile was white British otherwise Plod would have exploded.

    Report this comment

    Drew Peacock

    Thursday, February 27, 2014

  • Business rates should be restructured to take into concideration turnover of the store with profits gained from sales for the store.. Therefore when its good rates are higher, when its recesssion, rates reflect the ecconomic situation. I looked at a shop in Maidstone, Kent. Rent was £60,000yr, didn't look at rates.. For the rent alone, I would have had to make a profit of over £1000 a week (on top of wages, heating lighting and rates). Gone are the days when retail can markup 100%,200%+ We do online from a warehouse... so much cheaper and although markup isn't high we make a six figure profit.

    Report this comment

    Ipswich Company Director

    Thursday, February 27, 2014

  • Yes, Ipswich does have a dismal town centre, & yes there are a lot of immigrants. However the foreigners are usually shopping & it usually the indigenous locals who make the place look sad & dreary. When we had industry here it was probably just the same, only most were at work then, If it is as bad as many think, just think what it must be like where these foreigners came from. As for the locals, born & having lived here for almost all my life (68years) I have found when in town most Ipswich people are insular, they rarely smile, moan among themselves about how things are & will do little to change it. Sadly like many other towns & cities we are in decline, when we lost the manufacturing industries here it has been downhill ever since, companies that had no loyalty to its workforces took their businesses to global places where labour was cheap thinking only of profit for the usual suspects. Don’t blame youth, foreigners & derelicts for what ails us, they too are swimming in the mire. Remember the slogan “we’re in it together” some a little deeper than others.

    Report this comment

    Parlie

    Saturday, March 1, 2014

  • I would like to know how much people spend in independent shops like Norwich and Bury. My Wife worked for a chain and most of Monday mornings was spent giving refunds to shoppers who had been to other places like Lakeside and bought from the same stores we have here. We need the support from our inept Council as well as Ipswich people

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    m01

    Thursday, February 27, 2014

  • Scott - yes, you're right. I'm a mighty hypocrite, spending money in Norwich (or standing aghast whilst Mrs Plod does so) and complaining about Ipswich. I also realise that if I see a book I like in a traditional bookshop and then buy it online for half the price, I can't complain if that lovely little bookshop isn't there next week. I'm afraid it comes down to economics and our changing society. Whereas Norwich has faced up to reality by keeping its city centre vibrant, welcoming and attractive to visitors, poor old Ipswich is stuck in the past, thinking that businesses will set up shop come what may. Only the big boys can afford the rent and rates on the "Golden Mile" which is why all the independents are stuck on our twin hell-holes of Upper Orwell Street and Norwich Road. My question remains - would you spend a day in Ipswich town centre, if you didn't have to?

    Report this comment

    PC Plod

    Thursday, February 27, 2014

  • I don't care who sets rates but high business rates means empty units so money collected is nil. Lower business rates means occupied units, so some money collected. You are given 5 seconds to suggest which is the best solution.

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    how'd the town do

    Thursday, February 27, 2014

  • Unfortunately people don't use Ipswich for days out shopping as you cannot get away from the naff unsightly areas. Everytime you go from one area to another you are confornted with something negative . Don't suffer with this elsewhere , cheap shops attract cheap shoppers with minimal spending power . £9500 a month business rates , its a wonder anyone can survive in the town centre ! Thats nearly £120,000 a year , let alone rent , wages , electric vat etc ! No wonder internet shopping is taking off .

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    Poppys Dad

    Thursday, February 27, 2014

  • Two thoughts. 1. There are probably too many 99p£1 shops chasing the same customers - did this shop-owner investigate his market before he opened? 2. I believe that the Council has no "wiggle-room" on business rates as they are set centrally by national Government - local Councils merely collect it on their behalf. I think there is a debate to be had on this issue as these rates are having a detrimental effect on town centres.

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    Baptist Trainfan

    Thursday, February 27, 2014

  • Mr cockpea I does not understand you man ,

    Report this comment

    pandy

    Friday, February 28, 2014

  • The only reason shopkeepers will leave is becuse their custom has gone. Why has their customer base gone? Because there are too many big ssue sellers that can even pronounce BIG ISSUE and eople of ipswich are fed up with it... Simple realy isnt it. Charity begins at home.........

    Report this comment

    Mr cynical

    Thursday, February 27, 2014

  • Ipswich is a dump anyway, not only full of Charity Shops because of the Rates but the Council are spoiling the Road Network to stop cars coming into the town. Spend you money elsewhere

    Report this comment

    Livemusic

    Thursday, February 27, 2014

  • Pc Plod echo all you say spot on. Bury next for your wife to spend. The trumpet player should be a You Tube sensation for the way he extracts money out of people whilst just blowing his instrument. lol. Seriously though if you got your colleagues to drive out the drinkers and beggars that would be a start - zero zero tolerance please. On a daily basis I am approached for money by people who the PCSO's and Rangers joke with. It was never like this in the late nineties. Firmer Policing is the answer rather than say we are doing this and that, it is simple do it and use the law.

    Report this comment

    Joseph Marshall

    Thursday, February 27, 2014

  • @Bapist - you are correct. It's not down to IBC. They can give breaks and that's about it. The only way for the rates to be brought down (other than by central gov) if for the property to be revalued at a lower value but the landlords don't want this as it reduces the value of the assets so its a catch 22. The best way to attract business though is with footfall...

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    Scott Brock

    Thursday, February 27, 2014

  • @PC Plod and Joseph - it's nice to visit other places but it makes a change but boasting about spending money elsewhere is just cutting your nose to spite your face. How is Ipswich supposed to improve if you put your money elsewhere all the time? If you do that you really have no right to complain about the state of Ipswich. It's like spending money on your neighbours house and wondering why your own roof is leaking, whilst their front door has pillars of gold.

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    Scott Brock

    Thursday, February 27, 2014

  • not much more to be said , but the poor chap could of put his prices up to a pound, I am sure it was a there for the christmas trade. l

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    doris doris

    Thursday, February 27, 2014

  • Peacock I see nothing but someone who loves to make negative remarks about other people so I will make one to you.,we shop else where to get away from your like,,

    Report this comment

    pandy

    Friday, February 28, 2014

  • For shopkeeper's sake! The more we run this town down the worse it will become. I am tired of these moaners about £1 shops.. Yippie's, £land and 99p Store is at the far end of the town and is a struggle for some especially to get down with no lift at Yippie's, so he was trying his best... but like usual the rest of you seem to think it pulls Ipswich down... if you feel that strongly.. pack up and move out... but you would do the same where ever you move.

    Report this comment

    Neil Nield

    Thursday, February 27, 2014

  • I went in to Ipswich town center yesterday , pathetic place now , it stink of smelly old cigarette smoke , especially Carr st where all the yobbos hang out, couldn't wait to get back in my car and head out to a cleaner place to shop

    Report this comment

    MIGUEL100

    Thursday, February 27, 2014

  • Everyone harps on about Bury, but to me, it's dull as dishwater. Tell me what shops it has over Ipswich? Not that I'm a big Ipswich fan btw, but to put Bury on some pedestal is nonsense.

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    Tedbundy

    Thursday, February 27, 2014

  • i love shopping in Ipswich town centre its just like being abroad with out the long travel so many languages being spoken bread stalls wide open no covers over the food manned by an eastern European ,and what about Norwich rd all full of non English shops wonderful place Ipswich has become, no wonder its a dead town to most

    Report this comment

    pandy

    Friday, February 28, 2014

  • I'd suggest our beloved council starts employing a Tumbleweed Collector to operate in the town centre. Mrs Plod and myself and the two little Plods had a thoroughly enjoyable day out in Norwich on Saturday - Mrs P taking great delight in spending my hard-earned, followed by a spot of lunch and then more shopping. Would anybody in their right mind want to spend a day in the wasteland of Ipswich? Seriously, I don't know how even the Big Issue sellers and that poor mug who plays trumpet outside Debenhams can stick it ...

    Report this comment

    PC Plod

    Thursday, February 27, 2014

  • Where has he been? The town centre has already got like that, pretty much even before Yippee opened! (Although has got much worse since then)

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    Ipswich Entrepreneur

    Thursday, February 27, 2014

  • So the shop opened knowing the rates were £9500 a month and then moaned there to much, how silly is that they don't deserve to run a business in that location.

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    a west

    Thursday, February 27, 2014

  • I think it's silly to compare Ipswich to Norwich and Bury. Norwich is the only retail centre for miles around and effectively has no competition; the city is also much larger than Ipswich. Bury is of course smaller but has a very different social demographic. Having said that I think the biggest problem faced by Ipswich is perception - and all these negative comments don't help things!

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    Baptist Trainfan

    Thursday, February 27, 2014

  • I would prefer to see charity shops everywhere than £1 and 99p stores. If IBC keep letting more of these open up then no new large chains will open up stores in town!

    Report this comment

    alittlebitwoolly

    Thursday, February 27, 2014

  • The greedy red tape orientated council only care about one thing MONEY...whether it is a 99p shop or a big chain store they will squeeze every last penny .....No wonder there are so many EMPTY shops business are scared to invest in Ipswich . Instead of a premises sitting empty and falling to pieces , Let it out reduce the rent and business tax by 50% for 2 years to encourage business's to take up the opportunity at least it will be some money going into their coffers....Or are they content in creating a ghost town. ....

    Report this comment

    ukmartian

    Thursday, February 27, 2014

  • @Ukmartian - the council don't set the rates, government do nor do they set the rents, the landlords do and they are private IVC own no property within the retail town centre other than the Town Hall and the Old Post Office

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    Scott Brock

    Thursday, February 27, 2014

  • Oh dear the pound shops are closing. What a pity. I am so so very sad. God knows how many more of these we'd have it the rates were lower!

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    Chris Church

    Thursday, February 27, 2014

  • I think everyone is wide of the mark. Both IBC and Ipswich Central are a joke. The best way to encourage big names and national retailers to Ipswich is to invest in the home grown businesses and SMALL independents... if business is viable for start-ups and local businesses, the big names will come. Really. Trying to forcefully get big brands to open amongst a terrible place to shop, full of charity shops, discount stores and betting shops... and now with the traffic problems CREATED by a scheme supposedly aimed at reducing and improving... this is why none of them are really interested. Say what you like about Ipswich, it has a good sized catchment area, and not positioned too badly (both in terms of London and Europe)... the big retailers would love to knock small independents out of business once they have proven demand and profitability... fact of life. But its not exactly setting up the small businesses to fail, just let them have their time while they can so they got a chance to grow potentially one or two becoming a national chain, associated with the town. Unlike small businesses, big businesses can gamble rent, rates and staffing (etc) as it reduces their corporation tax bill... this is why a lot of betting shops pop up as they are usually low budget operations that not only expand reach to the consumer but reduces the tax they need to pay. Of course small businesses can also offset the same expenses against their tax bill, however, on one shop (or a small number of shops) you do not have that ability as you are directly using such to make your initial profits. Economy of scale. So what does IBC do? They revoke the successful Test Trading scheme (it had ended after 12 months) and replace it with a market stall scheme. Where is the logic in that?! The other comment I have is, business rates are no more of a problem than they were back in 2008 and 2009, despite the new 2010 revaluation, (it has always been touch for small businesses) just because a knight (ex Tesco) had spoken up its creating much fanfare for next years election... prepare for another U turn. If you believe anything a politician says... discount everything said 18 months before a general election. lies and broken promises.

    Report this comment

    Ipswich Entrepreneur

    Thursday, February 27, 2014

  • Drew Superb how did you get away with that one, I moan about Geater's journalism and it gets knocked back. Laughable.

    Report this comment

    Joseph Marshall

    Thursday, February 27, 2014

  • Oi Pandy; A couple of things; 1 try and judge individuals by their actions rather than the ethnicity. 2 If you ever dare to speak to one of our immigrant brothers, I suggest you ask them to teach you how to compose a paragraph.

    Report this comment

    Drew Peacock

    Friday, February 28, 2014

  • @m01 - exactly!!!! people go on about Bury being so good but barring about six or seven shops i can think of all the retailers are the same as in Ipswich. Like you say, how many people go to Bury and Norwich and end up shopping in chains rather than the independents?

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    Scott Brock

    Thursday, February 27, 2014

  • David Ellesmere during last night's Council Meeting - "The major stumbling block for getting top retailers into the town is not business rates, it is rents." Given this business director says otherwise, perhaps he would like to revisit that statement!

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    IpswichSpy

    Thursday, February 27, 2014

  • Pc Plod - I agree, but Norwich is really a very odd beast indeed it bucks all national trends, punches WAY above its weight - it knocks socks off cities three times it's size like BRistol and Hull. Norwich gets a lot of support, both from it's people and it's county. It is held aloft and on shoulders. It's also far enough away from London to attract investment which doesn't detract from London. e.g it's impossible to think of John Lewis Opening a department store in Ipswich when it's so close to the major new store in Stratford. Ipswich is stuck in a rut and a lot of it is political. Suffolk county hate ipswich and this leaves it always stranded and without investment, any opportunities to liberate or help Ipswich are usually scuppered by them. IBC are well, pretty useless, but their hands are tied on many issues. The sooner Ipswich is independent the better, then at least the right people will be accountable for things like say (can't) Travel Ipswich. Ipswich has suffered as you say in many areas above it's control - online shopping, out of town, etc and not really been good at predicting and fighting against these trends. That said, there are run down and rubbish bits of Norwich as well... and even pound shops! We always talk like it's streets are paved with gold.They really aren't at all!

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    Scott Brock

    Thursday, February 27, 2014

  • Oh dear oh dear. A few myths here in the comments. Firstly, the Borough Council doesn't set Business Rates, but it does have the capacity to offer discounts in order to attract new businesses. Since it keeps half the money generated by these new businesses, it makes commercial sense to spend a little money attracting them. Unfortunately when this was suggested at last nights Council Meeting, the Leader of the Council David Ellesmere laughed at the thought, and suggested that bringing new businesses into the town might put M&S or Debenhams at risk. Secondly, on rents, the council has already shown the way forward by subsidising the rent for the new Credit Union shop in the town centre. If the council offered discounted rents to new retailers in some of our more attractive retail outlets - like the Grimwades store - then we might get somewhere. Unfortunately for the director of the Yippee store, the people of Ipswich don't really want pound stores on that "Golden Mile" in the most prominent parts of the town. It makes us look cheap and poor and down at heel. Part of the problem already is that retailers don't realise just how much money there is to be made from the donut of rich villages and towns around the outside of Ipswich - attract the millionaire shoppers from Woodbridge & Felixstowe? Don't make me laugh. Ipswich Town Centre could be doing much better. IBC are holding it back and frankly I don't see that Ipswich Central are doing a great deal better right now - they're too scared of upsetting the council to criticise them.

    Report this comment

    IpswichSpy

    Thursday, February 27, 2014

  • @m01 - exactly!!!! people go on about Bury being so good but barring about six or seven shops i can think of all the retailers are the same as in Ipswich. Like you say, how many people go to Bury and Norwich and end up shopping in chains rather than the independents?

    Report this comment

    Scott Brock

    Thursday, February 27, 2014

  • people from ipswich most likely go to norwich or bury etc just to make a day out . they come to hadleigh morrisons the same , just something different.

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    TERENCE MANNING

    Thursday, February 27, 2014

  • PC Plod; I presume the low count of Muslims and brown people are also a reason why you go to Norwich?

    Report this comment

    Drew Peacock

    Thursday, February 27, 2014

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