September 30, 2017
Burnham-On-Sea's S&A Linens store closes after 27 years

A long-running shop in Burnham-On-Sea's town centre closed down after 27 years of business on Saturday (September 30th).

A closing sale had been underway at S&A Linens since June, when we first reported that the High Street store was closing.

Owner Steve Scott told "The sale exceeded all expectations, taking twice as much as expected."

"It is with regret that I have decided to close our last remaining S&A Linens shop. Over the past 27 years it has served us well, and I hope, it has been an asset to our town."

"On Burnham's success we also ran S&A Linen shops in Taunton, Minehead, Wells, Wellington and Clevedon - all of which have now closed."

"Unfortunately for us, the linen trade has been subject to a level of competition not experienced before."

"When I opened S&A Linens 27 years ago the main competition was from small family owned shops, similar to ourselves, such as Sharps of Bridgwater, Taunton, Weston and Exeter, Browns of Weston and Hoopers of Bridgwater - all of which have now closed."

"It is a testament to Burnham, and our staff, that this linen shop has been one of the last, if not the last, of its type to survive in Somerset."

He added: "Larger shops selling linens 27 years ago tended to be hidden within 'third floor' home sections of department stores, overpriced with little to offer.
Supermarkets, as today, offered a very limited selection of linens."

"Nowadays, we have the likes of Dunelm, John Lewis, Next and The Range with massive out-of-town stores displaying their offerings in bright, well lit modern surroundings. Because of their size, customers tend to think they are cheap. They do offer good value, but in many cases no better than we have. They just 'do it better'."

"We do not believe B&M have affected our business, other than the fact that they do not bring the right customer for us into town. The Internet has affected us, but not as much as you may think."

"The reason we have decided to close is simply the lack of our type of customer since Morrisons closed."

"Our High Street is still bustling with people, day visitors and holiday makers fill our town, but the locals doing their weekly shop have had to go out of our High Street."

"Please don't simply use the Town Council or Sedgemoor as scapegoats. Besides that, isn't it right that they have allowed people what they really want, rather than protect traders such as ourselves?"

Steve continued: "Times have changed, most people seem to prefer out-of-town shopping. It has been national policy to allow, or even encourage, this to happen.
We all moan about our town centres dying, but how many of us, including myself, would wish to go back to the limited choice available before supermarkets, the size of present day Tescos and Asda appeared?"

"Now the same thing is happening to our trade. Please don't think Burnham has failed as a town. We are lucky, many towns have suffered much more than ours. We are a holiday destination, let's make the most of it."

"Nationally, shopping habits have changed, I as a trader, and we as a town, must adapt. I hope that some other business will thrive in our premises, a business offering what today's society wants from a High Street."

"On the other hand, our furniture shop, Scott's Furnishings in Victoria Street, has just had it's best ever year and is going from strength to strength."

"We are not affected by the internet to any great extent as people like to see, touch and try their new bed, sofa, carpet etc."

"Because of the size of our shop we can offer a massive choice, comparable to many out of town stores. Yet, we still offer the service you only get from a local family owned shop. For instance, we deliver and take away your unwanted old item of furniture or bed, you are replacing, without charge. And we offer a price-match guarantee against any shop or internet site offering exactly the same item and service."

"Although we are closing S&A Linens, new ranges of nets and ready-made curtains will soon be available in the carpet and flooring section at Scott's Furnishings. Right up to the day S&A Linens close, you can still order curtains as you will be able to collect them from Scott's or we can deliver them."

"Finally, and most importantly, we would like to say a very sincere thank you to all of our customers (friends in many cases) and our wonderful staff for their custom and loyalty over the years."

"We do not want to close S&A Linens, but accept it is no good banging your head against the wall as 'times, they are a changing'. We hope to see you at Scott's Furnishings for many years to come."

A spokesman from Burnham Chamber of Trade said: "S&A Linens has been a welcome part of the Burnham business community for over 25 years and it is sad that the shop is to close."

"However, footfall in this part of the High Street is up substantially compared with this time last year and so it is hoped that this unit might not be vacant for long. Burnham continues to have fewer vacant units in its town centre than the south west and national averages."

May 2017 had 7.2% higher footfall than May 2016, which represents around 13,500 more people movements in the Town Centre. The Chamber of Trade has various initiatives underway to promote the town centre.


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