High street "a goner" says Cumbrian indie owner

The owner of Derwent Bookshop has declared the British high street “a goner” as the only bookshop in Workington is forced to close after 33 years.

The Cumbrian store will shut up shop within a month, blaming competition from other vendors, the growth of e-books, the rise of internet bookselling and failing bricks and mortar shops.

John Bailey, who has owned the shop for the last 10 years, said there was “not one growing trend” which favoured the future of the high street for retailers. He said: “Everything is going digital, people are shopping online for books from the comfort of their own homes. Supermarkets are increasingly their range extensively and W H Smith is selling books [for] less than the price I pay for them sometimes.”

He added: “People are watching their money, they are not going to come and buy something for £5 more expensive with me when they don’t need to.”

Bailey added the 2009 floods hit trade with the collapse of the town's Workington Bridge sending trade to nearby Carlisle. He said: “The high street, in my view, is a goner. Jewellers have closed up on the high street and charity shops have come in—which is the kiss of death for any high street. It’s been poor for the last 18 months—if I’m being honest I should have closed some time ago.”

Derwent is the third independent bookshop to announce its closure in a week, with The Travel Bookshop in Notting Hill due to shut up shop in two weeks’ time and The Harbour Bookshop in Dartmouth set to close at the end of September.