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Starbucks shuts shop in Chippenham
Traders in Chippenham have been stunned to learn that Starbucks is set to close.
It is believed the international coffee shop chain, which opened in the town on March 26, 2007, could have been affected by a drop in trade.
The shop will serve its last coffee in the town on October 23.
Rob Perks, president of the Wessex Chamber of Commerce, said it was a body blow to Chippenham’s High Street.
He said: “We have only got so many customers that want to use this kind of facility in the town.
“I don’t believe opening a new coffee shop brings more people into the town. Whether it’s a Starbucks, a Costa or a Nero, once you have one, another will not bring extra trade into the town centre.
“People don’t come from outside of Chippenham just for a certain brand of coffee. All you are doing is spreading the existing customers along a wider selection of outlets.”
Mr Perks, who owns The Dutch Cottage in St Mary’s Street, said times were tough for traders.
He said: “I think it’s a double shame that Starbucks is closing.
“They were the first of their ilk to set up in the town, and it would be very sad if people had to be made redundant.
“As everyone knows, Caffè Nero opened in Borough Parade without planning permission, and it possibly knocked Starbucks off its perch.”
Steve Webb, who runs a number of independent businesses in Chippenham, including Buckles fish and chip shop, said: “It’s a sad story all round.
“It seems to be particularly bad up this end of the town at the moment.
“The market has shifted from the top of the town and it’s much more focussed on the middle of the High Street now, and trade seems to be creeping down with it.
“It is a big loss for Chippenham and it highlights a bigger issue about our town centre.
“We [in Timber Street] have definitely seen a loss of trade compared to previous years, and this end of town has lost Coffee Central recently too. It’s a bad sign.”
Coun Nina Phillips said: “It’s really quite a nice place, and it’s of course always a huge disappointment to lose any shop in Chippenham.”
Town mayor Coun Andy Phillips said it was inevitable another coffee shop would go.
He said: “We don’t like empty shops, but with the number of coffee outlets it’s hardly surprising one of them has suffered.
“It’s a bit jarring when we have a new national outlet trundling into Borough Parade and setting up shop there without even applying for planning permission.
“Someone will eventually suffer the consequences.”
Caffè Nero in Chippenham is now seeking retrospective planning permission.