Pound shop to shut as rent is raised

The owners of a Ripley discount store say a rent increase will mean they have to move out of the town’s main Oxford Street.

Karnal Singh, 44, who has run Pound Exa for the last two and a half years, says the move to raise the annual rent from £18,000 up to £26,000 has left him with no choice but to relocate.

Mr Singh runs the shop with wife Harwinder Kaur, 40, and their daughter Kimanpreet, 21, and son Sampreet, 19, all of whom make the 40-mile commute from Leicester each day.

Harwinder said: “Sales have declined this year compared to last year by about 20 per cent. There’s a recession. People aren’t spending like they used to. You need the money to come in to pay the rent.”

She claimed higher rents were also affecting some other shops in town too. “The recession has really affected Oxford Street,” she said.

The family started the business after Mr Singh was made redundant from his his job as a truck driver in 2009.

Now he is looking for new premises for when the lease comes up for renewal in October.

Mr Singh said: “We didn’t want to leave.

“If I can find somewhere cheap enough I will stay in the area.

“But everyone’s prices are ridiculous. The landlord has had no problems off me.”

Hugh Broadbent, surveyor at Belper-based Chartex, which represents Mr Singh’s landlord, Macpiece Lal, said: “His lease has come to the end of its term and the landlord proposed new terms for him. He has declined them.

“The landlord can’t force new rent on him. Mr Singh can apply to the courts to arbitrate a new lease. Or apply to the landlord to justify the new rent with evidence.

“I am sure there is somewhere in the middle that we can agree on.”

He said the firm was charging £20,000 for the ground floor and £26,000 for the entire building.

Mr Lal said: “I am told we can achieve £20,000 for the ground floor as we did previously have an offer, but the tenant was not ready to move that time.

“Before the recession, the rents were £30 to 35K for the whole building, therefore our return on the building has diminished.”

Recently Currys and Bon Marche have also closed. In contrast Church Street in Ripley has be doing well, with retro shop Jack-in-a-Box expanding.