Superstore and bank blamed for store closing

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A LONG-STANDING card, balloon and party shop has announced that it will be closing – citing a lack of customers brought about by the last bank closing.

Cards and Balloons R Us, in Eastney Road, has traded from the parade in Milton for nearly 20 years.

Carmen White, owner of Cards and Balloons R-Us in Eastney Road in Portsmouth, which is closing after 19 years Picture: Sarah Standing (170041-609)

Carmen White, owner of Cards and Balloons R-Us in Eastney Road in Portsmouth, which is closing after 19 years Picture: Sarah Standing (170041-609)

However, business owner Carmen White says the shop has suffered in recent months following the last bank in the area closing, coupled with a Tesco Extra superstore opening less than a mile away.

She said: ‘There are a few different reasons. The main one being the bank closing, after that the footfall has just gone. Everyone either goes to Southsea’s Palmerston Road or to Commercial Road.

‘Also with Tesco opening so close, people go there and they can buy everything. Plus people are shopping online more. We can’t compete.’

Lloyds bank closed its Milton branch, opposite Cards and Balloons R Us, in May, despite local residents and ward councillors launching a campaign to save it.

Tesco opened a superstore on the grounds at Fratton Park in November 2015. Fears had been raised by traders about the affect it would have on smaller districts, however the store was given permission by the council to proceed.

Others businesses – such as sweet shop Hilbornes in Albert Road and Keith Waldren greengrocers in Baffins – have closed and blamed the supermarket for taking away their footfall.

Recent departures from Milton’s parade of shops include Moorhouse newsagents, Cloud 9, the Post Office, which moved into the Co-op, and Chris Hornsey Chandlery. The former Lloyd’s unit also remains empty after permission was refused to turn it into a takeaway.

Carmen, from Eastney, took over the business from her godmother Christine Broad, who originally set it up in 1997, when Christine died three years ago. She said she plans to work abroad and that the unit will be let out to another business, yet to be announced.

The shop, on the corner of Suffolk Road, is currently open and its last day of trade will be on January 31.

Carmen said: ‘I want to thank all the customers. There’s a really good community around here. I want to thank them all for being so supportive.’