Shops in North Tyneside, England, are getting a makeover: Instead of leaving abandoned storefronts empty, the City Council has voted to install some fake shop fronts in order to provide potential customers with an atmosphere more conducive to spending money.
"The economic climate has forced many businesses to bring down the shutters,” Judith Wallace, North Tyneside Council's deputy mayor, told the BBC.
"We need to ensure that the remaining businesses continue to survive and that means ensuring our high streets look attractive to both shoppers and potential business investors.”
The government-funded project involves colorful graphic designs featuring a range of different shop types, which are either taped inside the windows or screwed to the fascia so they can be removed and reused as required.
"This is a simple and cost-effective approach that keeps the retail unit available for potential new uses and in the meantime also contributes to the street scene."
Elsewhere in England, merchants are finding it difficult to deal with rising rents in a depressed economy.
Nick Brown, managing director of Browns department store in York, said it was facing a “substantial” rise in its rateable value and claimed the overall increases were outdated, having been based on sky-high rental values reached at the height of the boom before the current recession.
Brown says York had experienced bigger increases in rental values than many other parts of the country, and was therefore now being hit by bigger increases in rateable values.
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