ANOTHER loss to the high street was announced this week. HELENA VESTY finds out what is in store next for Bolton’s town centre.

BOLTON’S high street has suffered another blow, with one of Market Place’s biggest brands announcing its departure.

Topshop and Topman in Market Place will close for good in March, with signs for final sales splashed across the windows.

Both brands are owned by retail empire, the Arcadia Group. 

A spokesman for the company confirmed the closure date yesterday, saying: “The Topshop Topman Bolton store will cease trading on March 28, 2020, and we have endeavoured to offer current staff other employment options within the Arcadia Group.

“Our customers can still visit the nearby Topshop Topman Bury store or shop online at and”

The sale signs are all too familiar for traders in Bolton, who have watched as both independent and national retailers have shut up shop in the town centre.

Starbucks said goodbye to the Market Place in August after 11 years in residence — it was one of the original shops when the shopping centre opened in 2008.

Debenhams survived a round of national closures this month, but its long-term future is still unclear.

Elsewhere in Bolton, Bonmarché is another brand with question marks over its future. There have been closing down sale signs in the Newport Street shop windows for weeks as the fate of the national company is under review.

A spokesman for the ladieswear brand suggested that there will not be answers any time soon: “The remaining Bonmarché sites continue to trade while the performance of the business is under review. A significant number of the remaining trading stores are hoped to be part of a transaction with the preferred bidder, Peacocks, subject to the successful outcome of its due diligence process and negotiations with landlords. As Bonmarche is in administration, many sites across the country have had ‘closing down sale’ signs placed in store.”

The traders that are left on the high street say that a ‘vicious cycle’ has started — shops close, less people come into the town centre to browse, then more shops close as customers disappear.

One of Newport Street’s longest running independent units, Coffee Grind, is feeling the effects of stores closing around them.

Husband and wife team Jill and Nigel Lyons run the coffee shop and say shoppers are turning away from Bolton and heading to Bury instead.

Mrs Lyons said: “I think the high street is suffering because of a lack of footfall. In Bolton, people see the shops have closed so they don’t come back again. So much has gone from Newport Street, there’s nothing to bring people to this end of town so there’s no passing trade. As a small business, it’s very disappointing. It’s a big investment to open on the high street and we work seven days a week."

Regeneration plans have been approved which will bring more housing into the town centre, in the hopes of reviving the high street.

Mrs Lyons said: “It’s alright building housing but they need to fill the retail units to bring people into town. New housing doesn’t mean the residents are going to shop in Bolton.”

Empty spaces in shopping centres like Crompton Place have been temporarily filled, with a spokesman for Bolton Council saying: “The centre remains popular with both shoppers and retailers with nearly three quarters of units occupied.

“The small number of empty units have been put to good use hosting pop-up shops, local charities, the Food and Drink Festival and other major events.

“Space has also been used to encourage young people to get active through the Ping Pong Parlour and the old BHS unit has even been transformed into a film set.”

But newer businesses are feeling the pressure. Muhammad Mamon, 35, moved to Bolton from London with his wife and two children. The couple were hoping to use their life savings to try something new, opening a children’s clothes and toys shop in Newport Street.

But in the five months since Kids World opened, the family has been struggling.

Mr Mamon said: “From the beginning of September the number of customers just dropped, even during Christmas time it wasn’t good.”

He says the shop is not making a profit: “I could only survive Christmas doing a 15 per cent off sale, now I’m having to do 50 per cent off.

“I came up from London to do business. There was no baby shop like this so I thought it would be an opportunity and my plan was to expand to the other floors of the building and hire people. Now I want to move back to London."