WH Smith store in Dudley is to shut

WH Smith today announced it would be shutting its store in Dudley town centre, with the loss of six jobs.

WH Smith is closing its doors
WH Smith is closing its doors

Bosses said they could not continue to ‘trade viably’ from the Wolverhampton Street branch. It will shut in September.

Shopkeepers and civic leaders have spoken of their disappointment over the announcement, which comes just days after Thomas Cook closed its Dudley branch.

Alan Caswell, who owns the Arcade Toyshop in the town’s Fountain Arcade, said the closure was a sign that the town’s centre was heading in the wrong direction.

“Dudley is fast becoming a ghost town. I can’t believe WH Smith is going as well,” he said. “Somebody has got to stop the demise of the High Street and the council needs to get their finger out and do something.

“They need to listen to what people want and not just do what they want. People don’t want a new market place in Dudley. They don’t want the Hippodrome knocked down.

“We desperately need a multi-storey car-park,” he added.

Thomas Cook, which was based on the High Street, closed with bosses blaming its decision on making sure it had ‘the right stores in the right places for our customers’.

The nearest Thomas Cook is in Merry Hill shopping centre.

It also comes just days after a last-minute change of heart stopped the closure of WH Smith’s store in Wolverhampton’s Mander Centre, with a new lease agreement saving the day. That store had been chosen to close because it had been ‘unable to trade viably’, according to the company’s bosses. There has been no talk of such an agreement for the Dudley store, however.

Dudley Council’s cabinet member for regeneration, Councillor Judy Foster, said: “We’re obviously very sad and disappointed that this decision has been made. WH Smith has been there for a long time and is a reputable retailer.

“We are disappointed but we as a local authority have plans for the town, such as an improved market place and a number of supermarkets interested in Dudley.”

Comments for: "WH Smith store in Dudley is to shut"

PJW Holland

I am no expert on Dudley but I feel for its residents.

If Dudley insists on subsidising an out of town development and refusing to support the cultural features that makes its centre attractive (i.e. the Hippodrome) then this is the inevitable consequence. With the present short-sighted approach Dudley can only go in one direction: down. Merry Hell is no substitute for a viable centre where a mix of services and facilities are available. It is a place for occasional luxury shopping. That can better be catered for in a town centre except the problems of rates and parking and vehicular access render that unviable.

No Ambition

Dudley the land that time forgot

With a Labour administration in charge they may as well bulldoze the town centre.

Andy

If Dudley seriously wants to entice people back, it needs to do the following:

1) Clean up the town centre and surrounding area's to make it a pleasant and safe place to be

2) Free car parking

3) Reduce shop rents

4) Schedule weekend events so people have a reason to go

You will not beat Merry Hill, but you might be able to sell town centre's as a more relaxing place to shop.

Dudley is fast becoming a ghost town? - Aren't most towns and cities in the UK but the big question is WHY?

Is it because owners of shopping malls etc are asking extortionate rents?

Joe Public is now so short of money, only the necessities can be afforded?

OR is it the fact that town & city centres no longer attract the public like they used to do?

Whatever the reason, something needs to be done or we will be left with only pound shops or shops boarded up!

Not exactly a magnet to bring shoppers from the comfort of their homes is it?

the wise one

Dudley Council are ruining Dudley but not having the foresight to develop the Town Centre in the correct way. It is very sad and they should hang their heads in shame. Do they really think that spending millions on the market will make all the difference ?!

Fred

Free parking is a must and give up on the Stone Street Civic Square.

The best idea is to remake the town centre as a relaxing place to shop, it needs cleaning up and retailers encouraged to marshall the best shops into the market place. Upper High Street could have units turned into town centre housing instead of leaving units empty that are just surplus to requirement.

Cafes and pubs around the market place to have outdoor seating.

Just a few thoughts on how to give the town a chance compared to the noisy bedlam of Merry Hill.

Washburn

I have spoken many times to lead councilors about Dudley and its rapid decline. They have no idea what damage they are doing by making poor and unchallenged decisions.

The people want better parking and easy access, but instead they create more problems and refuse to open stone street up for parking.

Why they ignore the masses is a mystery to me, but having the contact I have had over the years these are nothing less than uneducated bureaucrats who live in a make believe world..

Welcome to Dudley a market town with a castle...Ludlow it is not...

Wulfrunian

My old lady is from Dudley - I always say that that you can take the wench out of Dudley, but yow cor tek the Dudderley out of the wench !

Woody

Unfortunately Dudley town centre is no longer the centre it was in the 1980's. It is easy to blame the Merry Hill Centre or Birmingham shopping malls, but they are obviously doing something right because they have the required footfall to maintain presence in those places, unlike Dudley.

Dudley has become very tired looking, dirty with numerous empty shops and way too many charity shops. The council needs to look at ways of increasing and encouraging the public to shop in the centre with low rates, bespoke shops and free parking.

To be honest, the way Dudley is at the moment, I'm surprised the major banks are still there!

malcolm parkes

my wife and i always likd shopping in dudley but we moved to crete 2 years ago but we visited in april this year and deared the worst that most shops in the town centre would be closed but we were pleasantly surprised to see most othem still open and we bought some net curtains from the open air market and some strawberries as well come on local residents support your town centre or lose it i wished we had a cheap town like that here our shopping costs twice as much here as in the uk best of luck for the future

Steve B

The Council have to take the blame totally , No real plan, that is based on shopping and selling services in the town, To much emphasis on the market traders and the market regeneration .The vast majority of shoppers don't use the market. people want decent shops . what we are getting is more pound shop, loan sharks ,betting shops taking the place of once decent establishments and its all going down market. New supermarket 10 years to late.. if it ever happens

Also Dudley MBC are moving staff out of Dudley and moving them down to the Waterfront development in Brierley Hill. what signal does that give the remaining stores? On the town team we have Westfield giving advice on how to regenerate the town ... you cannot make these things up!

We have councillors are told by the party whip to vote against anything that is good for Dudley. The Hippodrome.. the saga continues..

Dudley regeneration Group

Mr T

Not exactly true.

The council are moving staff about from various places to others. Lots of staff from Stourbridge have moved up to Dudley so others can do the opposite moves. I only know because my friend is a former Stourbridge based person who's moved up to Dudley now

Samg

Again typical of the council sky high rents for high st shops and shopping centres and they won't help new businesses open there.

Wolverhampton the same anyone would be put off the stupid rents landlords charge and its killing the high street,

Samg

The stupid footflow charts are out of date now so please take count of customers goin in shopping centres now and see the difference and reduce rents and help new business come to dudley

A.Cox

Yet another empty property in Dudley town centre.All the town consists of is cafes,charity shops,betting shops, loans offices and cheap tat.I remember when i was a kid my mom used to go to Dudley and get everything,food (George Masons,Fine Fare),clothes (Grays,Paige,Wilsons)if i remember correctly,shoes(ABC,Clarkes).The good old days will never be replaced.Why waste our money on the market place,there are hardly any decent stalls on there now anyway.The place is in severe decline and i think its just going to get worse.

Deadly Dudley

I have feared this for the town for years............. The only Answer is get rid of these Quango type newly elected local politicians that do nothing but pacify local residents in the local papers. The fact is do they know what they are doing in DUDLEY...

KING ST...........Bus route to no where

Brierley Hill new one way system John St and down to the leys and coming back a NIGHTMARE......Forced to turn into bunched traffic going one way TO THE MERRY HELL.............after being forced off route by some clown in Dudley MBC PLANNING....he or she must have a degree in traffic management .......DO THEY?

How Big is DUDLEY MBC paying council employees stupid money to sit at a desk talking about dog shows and their nails and their beauty sorry Dudley employee sitting on your proverbial........I am not paying for you when I am BUSTING a GUT....More to come

If Dudley MBC is cutting back or going to be , Why does it need so many admin staff.... Can Dudley MBC be made to make a true financial public record of it's expenses and when it does can I challenge it? with facts to hand I have over the last Decade. things like Wordsley Hospital....Corbett Hospital.....The Stupony.......Sedgley Fire Station.....Catholic lane.....Russell's Hall Hospital non Parking..... Dudley Football Club NOW Castle Gate.....as they could not build on IT......Cradley Speedway....Black Country Museum CLOSURE...... all to be appointed by St Modwin a Government INDEPENDANT Load of TOSH....................STARZI West Midlands Police at my door AGAIN or Traffic Violation or even worse............

A Richards

Instead of trying to compete and claw back the shoppers that go to merry hill why not just stop , pause and differentiate .

You do not need a fortune to spend on hiring advisors or strategists - Here we go for starters ....

No more national stores built within 2 miles of Dudley town. Centre - no more national chains burgher bars / coffee bars etc

It can work - and if you want to see it in action - Get Down To Totnes in Devon - thriving and oh so very different