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CASE STUDY: Independent retailer's cautious optimism
RETAILER Bill Gillow has been encouraged by how business has gone in recent weeks, but warned a return to the boom years is far from imminent.
The 58-year-old, who runs clothing store Geoffrey Gillow, in Grange Road, Darlington, is buoyed by what he has seen from his customers, but is not getting carried away by the latest figures.
He said: “Three years ago, we noticed a decline in our customer footfall, a lot of my regulars disappeared.
“I noticed a lot of my male customers were coming in less frequently.
“Women, happily, tend to shop whether things are good or bad.”
The store is a firm fixture in Darlington, having been trading for 45 years.
Mr Gillow added: “We have had a really tough time in the past three years, but in the last month, I have started to see an improvement.
“Not necessarily in footfall, but people have been buying more.
“Although I am optimistic, I do not think one set of figures is conclusive.
“We could easily be back down at the end of the next quarter, so I never take too much notice of Government figures.”
Mr Gillow added: “We have hung on through the bad times and hopefully things are on the up.
“But it is not going to go back to how it was five, ten years ago.
“Those days are over for the foreseeable future.”