Southsea shop Zensation to permanently close due to 'nightmare' trade in Albert Road
A gift shop that has traded from Albert Road for more than 20 years is set to close permanently due declining trade – with the owners saying more imagination is needed to revitalise the area.
Zensation, which sells ornaments and gifts from around the world, is holding a clearance sale to empty the shop.
Owners Steve Rogers and Julie Malone took on the store from its previous owner in 2007, but they now intend to retire as Albert Road has become ‘a nightmare’, according to Steve.
The 64-year-old said: ‘We don’t have the footfall anymore.
‘Over the last couple of years footfall has gone down – it used to be much busier.’
Steve added: ‘I would sell the business as a going concern but who is buying a business in this climate?’
Stock deliveries that would used to last a year to sell now remain unsold for up to three years, according to the owners.
Julie said: ‘It’s the same problem nationwide.
‘High streets up and down the country need more help.’
The couple have had dozens of messages from regular customers upset to the hear the store will close once it has sold out of its current stock.
Julie said: ‘Our Facebook page has been full of lovely comments – and a lot of people are sad to see us go.
‘People have said, ‘what are we going to do for incense?’
‘We sell lots of things that can be tricky to get elsewhere.
‘This last week we have doubled what we would normally take.’
It comes as The News and traders along Albert Road have called on residents to shop locally, in order to help independent traders bounce back from being closed during the national lockdown.
Portsmouth City Council and the government need to be bolder when it comes to helping small businesses, Steve said.
He added: ‘Business rates need to be lowered, but the area needs to be made more attractive.
‘I’d want to know how much money the council has invested in Gunwharf Quays versus all the high street’s independent shops across Portsmouth.
‘Maybe events could be put on to attract more young people.
‘The council needs to have a bit more imagination.’