Shops aren’t closing doors (Feb11)



I went into Jessops in Yeovil on a cold winter evening. The door of the shop was open and the hot air was being pumped out into the street. They’re not alone. When I looked up and down the precinct I realised that there were more shops with their doors open than closed.

Other culprits included: Holland & Barrett, Topman, Primart, The Entertainer, Peacocks, Poundland, The Sweeteries, Cash Generator, Boyles Family Butcher. Actually, it seems a bit unfair to name just a few. I think I should do a proper survey in the town identifying the offenders and the few companies who are closing their doors.

This has been a bugbear of mine for quite some time. The amount of energy wasted through open shop doors is huge – it can be as much as 50% of heating costs being frittered away.

Before Christmas I read about The Close The Door Campaign, which is highlighting this issue. They’ve managed to get a number of retailers to sign up and agree to keep their doors closed. Neals Yard Remedies is one of these. And a friend mine said that she’d seen a notice on the door the Bridgwater stores explaining to customers, why they’re not heating the atmosphere as well as their shop.

But some stores have signed up to the campaign and don’t seem to have put the policy into practice all over the country. Primark is one of these. And although the Boots store in Yeovil had their doors shut, it’s been reported to me that the store in North Allerton had their doors propped open with piles of baskets. And the staff inside were wearing thin short sleeve shirts in the middle of winter.

When challenged, many stores will say that they’re fearful of losing customers if the door is shut. And that people might think they’re closed for business. According to The Close the Door Campaign, research shows that this is not the case. Clearly, it comes down to good signs welcoming people in!

I sent a notice out to people in Somerset who were concerned about climate change. Peter Lansdown who lives close to Chard and Ilminster has been badgering shops in his area. He says that his bete noirs include Tesco, who have actually signed up to the Close the Door Campaign and Superdrug who have said that it’s company policy, to keep doors open. He has also challenged Shoefayre in charge – and wrote to their MD. The response was that the issue would be put to shareholders. Peter doens’t know if this has happened because even though he’s followed up, he hasn’t heard any more about it.

On the positive front, Peter says that the Heart Foundation Charity Shop had its doors open last year, but this year is keeping them shut – he wonders if this might be because he brought it to their attention.

We need more people like Peter. If you want to help, The Close the Door Campaign, gives you advice on what to do. My recommendation is that Yeovil would be a good place to start!

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