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Gloucestershire Business News

Cotswold town loses DIY shop

A Cotswold market town is set to lose its only DIY shop after the owner decided to shutter the business.

The news of the imminent closure of Wotton DIY at 40 Long Street, in Wotton-under-Edge, follows Punchline's coverage last week of two exits  from neighbouring businesses in the town, with the decision of Offer's estate agents to move its operations to another nearby outlet and the earlier closure of next-door business AC Partners butchers.

Current owners of the shop took over in March 2018, selling paint, tools, seeds and gardening gifts as well as household cleaning products and equipment and offering a key cutting service. The business came as a lifeline for DIY fans seeking to avoid out-of-town shopping: up until April 2017, the shop competed with Wotton Building Supplies, a far bigger trade and retail operation based off the town's nearby Chipping, but the Stoke-on-Trent business closed that month citing prohibitive building repair costs.

Wotton DIY posted a decision on local media to close in July and are currently operating restricted hours for reduced-price sale of existing stock. 

Regular customers reacted with dismay to the online announcement.

Theresa Boyle wrote: Every shop closure in Wotton makes Wotton-under-Edge a less attractive place to live for newcomers looking for a house with a good high street."

She added: If we don't start using local shops the high street will die."

The news has also heightened local concern for the town's retail health given the imminent closure of Lloyds Bank. As reported in March , the town is set to lose its last bank outlet next week (August 26th).

But other businesses in the town's Long Street say they are seeing a breakthrough in trade. 

Mike Smylie, who runs the the Fish Out of Water art gallery and bespoke gifts shop, next door to Lloyds Bank, told Punchline turnover remains undented, despite the cost of living crisis, from their experience this time a year ago.

Mr Smylie said: "We have seen some closures but that is never unusual and the street remains busy. Energy costs are worse for their real-life impact than many economists seem to believe, but in terms of wholesale supply, manufacturing inflation is less evident and, between us and a few key businesses here, including the Cotswold Book Room just opposite, footfall is good and there is a sense that we have got through the challenges – they are not over, but the future is looking slightly rosier."

Mr Smylie added that many Wotton businesses have been able to survive through the agility of their owners.

"In our case, we live and work in one place, as many shops do, so costs are controlled well, though for me, as I combine this work with my work as an author, the rise in printing costs is one I am well aware of and one that affects many businesses."

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