View the Clone Town Britain, Sidmouth survey, May 2012, by Marianne Rixson
with postscript below:
“It’s almost six months since this nef (New Economics Forum) survey, Clone Town Britain, was done for Sidmouth. Some shops have changed in the interim. Has Sidmouth grown ever closer to clone town status? Yet I know some of the people I have worked with come from Exeter and Exmouth to shop because of our individual shops.
Exeter, of course, is a prime example of a shopping centre which has nothing but chain stores. In the main shopping street, can you name any shop which does not fall into this category (see reference to Exeter p.11, clone town report by nef)?”
‘Exeter, South West: The high street in Exeter, Devon, prides itself as ‘the heart of one of the West Country’s biggest and liveliest shopping centres…packed with many famous national names including Marks & Spencer, Laura Ashley, H & M, Dingles (House of Fraser), Next, Cargo Home Store, Boots, Country Casuals and Ann Harvey. Not surprisingly Exeter also takes the bottom score of the surveys received – a mere 6.9 out of 60. Amongst the shops counted on the high street, there was only one independent shop – the rest were chains. A broader range of independent shops can be found on side streets, however, but it was noted that few visitors or even locals find their way there.’
“Not only have most of the independent shops been driven off the high street, but Exeter is also bottom in terms of diversity of shop type, with only 10 out of 25 categories represented. Overall, there is little more than clothing retailers, a few electronics shops and some stationery or bookstores on the high street. Unsurprisingly, the rents on the high street are also extremely high. Information from the Exeter & District Consumer Group reveals that they rise upwards from around £30,000 a year, with the business rate adding at least another £120,000.
Nuff said, really!”