BURTON town centre bosses have been delivered mixed news after the closure of a major retailer coincided with improving overall results in terms of empty shops.
Bed retailer Dreams was confirmed as the town’s latest big-name casualty following months of speculation over its future.
A sign announcing its closure has been placed in the window at the Middleway Park store, which had been clouded in uncertainty since March after it wasn’t part of a deal that saw 150 stores rescued from administration.
At the time, administrators insisted the fact it wasn’t bought had not signalled the death knell for the store.
But after surviving an initial cull of around 90 stores across the country that hadn’t been rescued by Sun European Partners, the store finally succumbed, joining fellow big hitters including Comet and JJB Sports in disappearing from Burton’s streets.
Administrators Ernst and Young confirmed that a buyer couldn’t be found for the Middleway Park store.
But the blow for town centre bosses was softened by the news that the overall picture had improved on the high street during 2013.
Around nine per cent of shops in Burton town centre are currently empty, a significant improvement on last year when around one in eight units were vacant.
The high street was boosted recently by the news that the former Beatties store in The Octagon shopping centre was to be taken over by Poundland.
Despite the Dreams set back, town centre manager Paul Howard said the high street was moving in the right direction.
He said: “It is always disappointing when a retailer closes but vacancies have dropped way below the national and regional average in August - we’re still doing reasonably well.”
Reacting to the latest figures, Mr Howard said: “It’s good. It was a bit of a shock when it went over 10 per cent for the first time and near 12 per cent where it was.
“But we are back to where we want to be. We are never going to be 100 per cent occupied - that kind of thing doesn’t happen in town centres. We are about where we want to be.”