Friday, 24 September 2021

Traders optimistic after first trial of late-night opening

THE organisers of a trial late-night shopping event in Henley have hailed it a success.

THE organisers of a trial late-night shopping event in Henley have hailed it a success.

Gillian Nahum and Richard Cross, who both run shops in Hart Street, say they doubled their day’s takings on Thursday evening last week.

Mrs Nahum, the owner of gift shop Boatique, said she took several hundred pounds before her later closing time of 8.45pm.

She said: “Everyone who came in bought something, including some quite high-value items. Two ladies bought bags worth £140 each, which I was very pleased with.

“The footfall during the day was pretty poor but a lot of foreign tourists visited in the evening. I think they are more used to shops being open at that time.”

Mr Cross, founder of clothing store Dashwood Boat Company, shut at 9pm.

He said: “People were buying right up until the end. I started cashing up at 8.55pm but had to stop because I made another sale.

“We had more people wandering around the shop than I had expected. It was definitely worth it.”

The pair came up with the idea in May following a string of shop closures, including gift shop Down-to-Earth and Peruvian Connection in Bell Street and Askew Art in Duke Street as well as Kaliko announcing it was closing its flagship store in Market Place.

Now Mrs Nahum and Mr Cross plan to open their shops late on the third Thursday of every month and hope to persuade other businesses to follow suit.

Mr Cross said: “It will take a while for this to bed in but based on our first night it is worthwhile pursuing. We covered our time and wages and it can only get better in future months.

“It is up to the retailers to provide activities for shoppers. If they do, people will come.”

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