‘More consultation needed on market’

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SHOPKEEPERS have said that a lack of communication led to last week’s continental market being “poorly executed”.

The Daventry Business Partnership (DBP) organised the two-day event on Thursday and Friday which saw market traders from across Europe bring a range of goods to the town.

But despite welcoming the extra footfall, traders believe more could have been done to drive sales in the town.

Simon Williams, who runs the Evergreen Art Café on Sheaf Street, said: “The first day (Thursday) we had the front of our shop completely blocked by the market so nobody could really see the premises or get entry.

“Luckily on the second day the trader outside our shop had moved and people could see us which resulted in us having one of the best Friday trades ever.

“I think it’s a great idea to have this sort of thing in the town but it was poorly executed.

“I would welcome it back in Sheaf Street but I think there needs to be more consultation with traders. The DPB sent one letter to us but after that I heard nothing about it.”

Peter Harper, who owns a number of shops on the street, added: “None of the retailers I spoke to recorded increased takings, indeed there were some alarming deficits. My businesses for example were minus 48 per cent compared to the same days of the previous week.

“Favourable comment was received upon the ambience the market added to the town, but the promotional factor was lacking.

“In summary the event was poorly executed, badly managed, feebly promoted and lacked in achieving its primary objective of increasing the retail spend.”

The DBP apologised for any inconvenience caused to traders and said it will work closer with businesses on future events.

But manager Sally Halson said overall she was “delighted” with how it went and added: “Activities like this are organised to bring more people into Daventry and it did just that with the number of visitors significantly up.”

Steve Rhodes, who owns Games Vault on Sheaf Street, said: “ The town was a lot busier but for us trade was down a substantial amount which was a massive surprise. I can’t put my finger on it.

“I’m quite positive about it because even though we didn’t take as much money a lot more people might have noticed the shop and may come back in future. I can’t really see how it could have been done any differently because a lot of the stalls were quite big. If it had been put in the High Street people would have said ‘why isn’t in Sheaf Street. So it’s a Catch 22 situation really.”