Guernsey retailers keen 'to embrace change'

There is an "enthusiasm for change" within Guernsey's shopping sector, according to one store.

A strategy aimed at revitalising the industry across the island, but centred on St Peter Port, has been unveiled by the Commerce and Employment Department.

It includes making some areas pedestrian, relaxing Sunday trading laws and adapting planning laws to help shops.

Tony Creasey, MD of Creasey's, said there were hopes to make things better.

He said: "Clearly it's not going to happen overnight, it'll be a phased thing, some of the policies hopefully will be adopted and will become policy that the planners and other departments of the States of Guernsey take on board."

Official figures show the retail industry employs about 4,000 people, making it the island's third-biggest economic sector, and about £350m is spent annually in shops.

'Move online'

The retail strategy group found compared with other high streets, Guernsey's was faring reasonably well.

The proposals it has put forward include making areas such as Church Square pedestrian only, making the Pollet more pedestrian friendly, appointing a town centre manager and helping local shops sell their products online.

Tony Rowbotham, the group's chairman, said: "We still have a reasonably robust and vibrant retail sector.

"How do you keep that and how do you improve on it in the future? That's really the key because we're all aware of the threats... whether it's the internet or overseas shopping."

Mr Creasey said his business would not support a move to deregulating the Sunday trading laws, under which only certain shops are currently allowed to open.

Mr Creasey said: "As a business we've never been keen. There isn't a huge pool of unemployment over here at the present time and actually staffing the shops on a Sunday at the level one would require to give good service may not be that easy."

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