SHOPPERS risk losing their local shops and town centres if they turn to online shopping, a councillor has warned.

Cllr Christopher Peacock, who represents Westhoughton North and Chew Moor, said the public should use their local shops to save town centres from decline.

His plea follows news that entertainment store HMV has gone into administration and is at risk of closure.

Jessops has shut and Blockbuster and Bolton’s Body Shop have announced they are to close after becoming the latest victims of the recession, changing technology and new shopping habits.

Cllr Peacock said: “The news that HMV went into administration served as a reminder that there are no shops safe at the moment, and if we want to see them remain on our high streets we can only do one thing — shop in them.

“I am backing Bolton town centre. We have thousands of hard-working employees that work in shops, cafes, restaurants and offices in the town centre and we must support them by using our town centres more.

“We have a fantastic, award-winning market, a brilliant theatre, and a superb museum, art gallery and aquarium. There is a lot going on and I encourage everyone to go and see for themselves.”

He said shops like HMV and Jessops struggled because they lost business to the internet that can charge less due to tax loopholes and not having the costs of running a shop.

Cllr Peacock said he took the decision to shop and do his bit help save the town centre.

He said: “I choose to shop local in Bolton and Westhoughton rather than shop online, because I want to back our town centres.

“The more of us that do this, the better town centre businesses will do, and in turn the town centre benefits. It is simple market economics."

Cllr Peacock criticised the government following the latest disappointing economic figures. He said: “I do appreciate everyone has less money to spend. Times are hard and there is little light at the end of the tunnel considering the latest GDP figures. We need the government to realise that austerity is hurting and not working. They need to change course and need to do it now”. His call for support follows figures showing the UK economy shrank by 0.3 per cent in the last three months of 2012.