Closing Cardmarket store in Northampton could become restaurant in face of 'weak demand' for retail space

Plans are already underway to turn a closing-down card shop in Northampton into a new restaurant.

Monday, 15th July 2019, 6:25 pm
Cardmarket is set to close - but a plan is underway for a restaurant to open in its place.

It has been less than a week since Cardmarket, in Abington Street, announced it would be shutting its doors, after sticking "closing down" signs in its windows on Friday (July 15).

But a planning application has already been put to the borough council to convert the stationery store into space for a restaurant.

The two-storey, terraced Tudor-style store is a Grade-II listed building and has had trouble attracting offers from retailers to reopen as a new store.

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Cardmarket is set to close - but a plan is underway for a restaurant to open in its place.

Now, the application will install ventilation so potential buyers can instead use the building as a restaurant or takeaway.

It is not the first time an application was made to turn the shop into a restaurant. A nearly-indential plan was put forward and approved in 2013 but did happen due to "physical constraints" of the building.

Meanwhile, everything in Cardmarket is marked as half price as part of an "everything must go" shop clearance.

The shop's closure comes after its parent company SmithPrice - which also operates WHSmiths - reported last year it would close about 30 of the budget chain stores across the country.

In fact, a commercial property agent at SmithPrice spoke critically of the Northampton's retail offering in a letter to the borough council in March 2019.

He wrote: "Unfortunately due to the poor performance of the retail letting market in general, together with the perception problem that Northampton has in particular has meant [sic] that we have had no viable retailer interest at all.

"Unfortunately, the level of demand has collapsed with even charities, vape shops, mobile phone accessory occupiers no longer looking. Unfortunately, the tidal wave of CVAs and Administrations have lead to a flood of vacant property chasing a rapidly diminishing pool of prospective retailers.”