Last Christmas for Surbiton jeweller as owners blame 'lack of support' from shoppers and Kingston Council

This Is Local London: F P Turner and Sons will close on Christmas Eve F P Turner and Sons will close on Christmas Eve

A Surbiton jeweller’s shop which has been running for 15 years will close for good on Christmas Eve.

F P Turner and Sons, in Victoria Road, is to shut citing high business rates and the impact of online shopping.

The shop has stood in Surbiton for more than 100 years.

Manager Alison Hammerton said: “The reasons are obvious – the lack of support from the local community and Kingston Council.

“They are not putting enough money into keeping the shops here.

“We’re all struggling, it has just been absolutely dire here.

“It’s obviously a very distressing time.

“The last three years I have seen a huge change just in the dynamic of Surbiton itself.

“We can’t take the risk of trying to hold on another year.”

Andy Bacon, chairman of Surbiton Business Community, said: “I am very sad to hear that a family business that has been a part of our community for so long is faced with such a tough decision.

“This is undoubtedly a very sad loss for our town.

“We hope that in future any owner who needs support will come and seek our help.”

Kingston and Surbiton MP Edward Davey said: “Turner’s will be missed by many local people and it confirms the need for our [recently-launched] "Shop local" pledge campaign.

“Turner’s faced particularly pressure from online competition and it shows the challenges facing the modern independent retailer.”

Last month, Liberal Democrat St Mark’s Ward councillors Liz Green, Mary Heathcote and Yogan Yoganathan launched a new website, Shop Local Surbiton, encouraging shoppers to use the town’s independent traders ahead of the chains.

Comments (9)

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12:58pm Thu 12 Dec 13

DB says...

A shame. I think that this particular retailer had a lot of negative feedback which probably did not help the situation, but it is a growing problem.

A small business like this in a low footfall area like Surbiton simply cannot be expected to generate enough trade to pay high business rates and the even more exhorbitant rent that commercial landlords still seem to be able to justify charging.

There is no easy way out of this situation, though. Surbiton is not suddenly going to become a busier shopping district and the commercial landlords will not reduce rents because that reduces the capital value of their holding. For a lot of commercial landlords, it is favourable to have a high capital value and no rental income coming in than renting at a discount.

With the rise of the internet, we need to accept the fact that most retail space is not now worth as much as it was a few years ago, and the rent and rates need to go down accordingly if we want to keep any semblence of a traditional high street.
A shame. I think that this particular retailer had a lot of negative feedback which probably did not help the situation, but it is a growing problem. A small business like this in a low footfall area like Surbiton simply cannot be expected to generate enough trade to pay high business rates and the even more exhorbitant rent that commercial landlords still seem to be able to justify charging. There is no easy way out of this situation, though. Surbiton is not suddenly going to become a busier shopping district and the commercial landlords will not reduce rents because that reduces the capital value of their holding. For a lot of commercial landlords, it is favourable to have a high capital value and no rental income coming in than renting at a discount. With the rise of the internet, we need to accept the fact that most retail space is not now worth as much as it was a few years ago, and the rent and rates need to go down accordingly if we want to keep any semblence of a traditional high street. DB

3:11pm Thu 12 Dec 13

Missla says...

As a local resident I tried to use this jewellers-they were so rude to me that I took my business elsewhere! Maybe their lack of good customer service has had an impact on their business! I now use an independent jewellers in Kingston that are fantastic.
As a local resident I tried to use this jewellers-they were so rude to me that I took my business elsewhere! Maybe their lack of good customer service has had an impact on their business! I now use an independent jewellers in Kingston that are fantastic. Missla

4:22pm Fri 13 Dec 13

Surbiton Business Community says...

There is no one simple answer to this. The way people buy goods and services has changed for good and although competition from on-line sources accounts for much it cannot be blamed entirely. Retail still has its place in the market, but modern retailing is considerably more sophisticated and requires a innovative approach.

Customer expectations have increased, we now expect choice, availability and excellent service at a realistic price. Loyalty has to be earned and worked on every day to harness every opportunity for referral and recommendation. Give a bad/lack lustre experience and a customer will complain to ten others, give a wonderful service and they might tell one.

We need to know who our customers are, understand why they choose to buy from us and communicate with them at every opportunity. Put simply, retailing is no longer passive; the days when it was once possible to have a shop front, turn on the lights and wait for the trade to walk in have long gone. Its all about modern marketing and leveraging on-line techniques to extend presence beyond the high street. Businesses need to be seen and heard everywhere.

Those who know Darwin will know the rules - its 'survival of the fittest' and retailers need the courage to embrace change and evolve. It doesn't matter how long a retailer has been in market, its about business agility. Often the small independent can change faster than the large chains and they can use this to their advantage.

Yes, commercial landlords do have to be realistic but they still have to pay rates on an empty premises so many will negotiate rather than face risk of long periods of non-occupancy. The effects of lower footfall will begin to effect market values and supply v demand for retail space will create market pressure to reduce rents. It may not happen soon enough for some.

Surbiton Business Community is here to help our local businesses work together for mutual benefit. By working as a team we can create a positive environment so local people value and take pride in supporting their local independents.

The brilliant local events such as the Food Festival, Farmers Market, Surbiton Festival and Christmas Lights Turn it On all en-richen our town, but these events rely heavily on local businesses getting involved and helping make it happen. Those that regularly 'give something back' and invest time in their town have built special relationships with the local community who cherish them as a result.

Kingston Council have supported Surbiton this Christmas with new lights the length of Victoria and Brighton Road, there is still much to be done but SBC has succeeded in garnering their support and with more local businesses behind us our voice will grow stronger and we can achieve even more.
There is no one simple answer to this. The way people buy goods and services has changed for good and although competition from on-line sources accounts for much it cannot be blamed entirely. Retail still has its place in the market, but modern retailing is considerably more sophisticated and requires a innovative approach. Customer expectations have increased, we now expect choice, availability and excellent service at a realistic price. Loyalty has to be earned and worked on every day to harness every opportunity for referral and recommendation. Give a bad/lack lustre experience and a customer will complain to ten others, give a wonderful service and they might tell one. We need to know who our customers are, understand why they choose to buy from us and communicate with them at every opportunity. Put simply, retailing is no longer passive; the days when it was once possible to have a shop front, turn on the lights and wait for the trade to walk in have long gone. Its all about modern marketing and leveraging on-line techniques to extend presence beyond the high street. Businesses need to be seen and heard everywhere. Those who know Darwin will know the rules - its 'survival of the fittest' and retailers need the courage to embrace change and evolve. It doesn't matter how long a retailer has been in market, its about business agility. Often the small independent can change faster than the large chains and they can use this to their advantage. Yes, commercial landlords do have to be realistic but they still have to pay rates on an empty premises so many will negotiate rather than face risk of long periods of non-occupancy. The effects of lower footfall will begin to effect market values and supply v demand for retail space will create market pressure to reduce rents. It may not happen soon enough for some. Surbiton Business Community is here to help our local businesses work together for mutual benefit. By working as a team we can create a positive environment so local people value and take pride in supporting their local independents. The brilliant local events such as the Food Festival, Farmers Market, Surbiton Festival and Christmas Lights Turn it On all en-richen our town, but these events rely heavily on local businesses getting involved and helping make it happen. Those that regularly 'give something back' and invest time in their town have built special relationships with the local community who cherish them as a result. Kingston Council have supported Surbiton this Christmas with new lights the length of Victoria and Brighton Road, there is still much to be done but SBC has succeeded in garnering their support and with more local businesses behind us our voice will grow stronger and we can achieve even more. Surbiton Business Community

4:41pm Sat 14 Dec 13

bazil237 says...

"Give a bad/lack lustre experience and a customer will complain to ten others, give a wonderful service and they might tell one."

That ratio seems to be born out by the scores for the above posts. 1 vote for yours, 10 for Missla.
"Give a bad/lack lustre experience and a customer will complain to ten others, give a wonderful service and they might tell one." That ratio seems to be born out by the scores for the above posts. 1 vote for yours, 10 for Missla. bazil237

1:15pm Tue 17 Dec 13

kingstonpaul says...

Surbiton High Steet lacks any distinctiveness, apart from the odd independent. The death knell for a lot of secondary suburban high streets is when the chain stores move in - Boots, Smiths, Starbucks, Costa, the burger chains, nothing distinctive, no uniqueness, no curiosity, they kill off any vitality. Just really booooring. And once the charity shops get their toehold, it's a downhill spiral.
The best model in the area is Teddington High Street (not to be confused with the Broad Street bit). But I fear for its future, with the inwards creep of the big high street brands.
Surbiton High Steet lacks any distinctiveness, apart from the odd independent. The death knell for a lot of secondary suburban high streets is when the chain stores move in - Boots, Smiths, Starbucks, Costa, the burger chains, nothing distinctive, no uniqueness, no curiosity, they kill off any vitality. Just really booooring. And once the charity shops get their toehold, it's a downhill spiral. The best model in the area is Teddington High Street (not to be confused with the Broad Street bit). But I fear for its future, with the inwards creep of the big high street brands. kingstonpaul

2:16pm Tue 17 Dec 13

DB says...

kingstonpaul wrote:
Surbiton High Steet lacks any distinctiveness, apart from the odd independent. The death knell for a lot of secondary suburban high streets is when the chain stores move in - Boots, Smiths, Starbucks, Costa, the burger chains, nothing distinctive, no uniqueness, no curiosity, they kill off any vitality. Just really booooring. And once the charity shops get their toehold, it's a downhill spiral. The best model in the area is Teddington High Street (not to be confused with the Broad Street bit). But I fear for its future, with the inwards creep of the big high street brands.
Agreed.

Teddington has the advantage of being quite a lot further from Kingston (i.e. you can't really just walk between the two towns in a few minutes), and it is a bit posher than Surbiton leading to a 'ladies who lunch' type of demographic that really lends itself to independent shops.

Surbiton has got an element of that now, but I get the impression that it's households tend to be much more 'dual-normal' income rather than one very high income. The demographic you see in Surbiton on the weekend is a mixture of everyone, but those left in the working week are more likely to be pensioners, students or benefit claimants, not really the types that are going to encourage a lot of independent shops to open.

The fact that there are hardly any large offices in Surbiton doesn't really help to support the shops during the day when the residents are out at work either.
[quote][p][bold]kingstonpaul[/bold] wrote: Surbiton High Steet lacks any distinctiveness, apart from the odd independent. The death knell for a lot of secondary suburban high streets is when the chain stores move in - Boots, Smiths, Starbucks, Costa, the burger chains, nothing distinctive, no uniqueness, no curiosity, they kill off any vitality. Just really booooring. And once the charity shops get their toehold, it's a downhill spiral. The best model in the area is Teddington High Street (not to be confused with the Broad Street bit). But I fear for its future, with the inwards creep of the big high street brands.[/p][/quote]Agreed. Teddington has the advantage of being quite a lot further from Kingston (i.e. you can't really just walk between the two towns in a few minutes), and it is a bit posher than Surbiton leading to a 'ladies who lunch' type of demographic that really lends itself to independent shops. Surbiton has got an element of that now, but I get the impression that it's households tend to be much more 'dual-normal' income rather than one very high income. The demographic you see in Surbiton on the weekend is a mixture of everyone, but those left in the working week are more likely to be pensioners, students or benefit claimants, not really the types that are going to encourage a lot of independent shops to open. The fact that there are hardly any large offices in Surbiton doesn't really help to support the shops during the day when the residents are out at work either. DB

5:04pm Tue 17 Dec 13

surboSam says...

This is very sad, but the shop doesn't seem to have a website, the frontage is not very welcoming and the staff tend to talk down to customers, an attitude which the manager seems to highlight when saying "the lack of support from the local community".

I am probably wrong but I don't remember seeing any events or social actions supported by this business, unlike like other local business, for example Gordon Bennett who seem to do a lot of work to support the local community.
This is very sad, but the shop doesn't seem to have a website, the frontage is not very welcoming and the staff tend to talk down to customers, an attitude which the manager seems to highlight when saying "the lack of support from the local community". I am probably wrong but I don't remember seeing any events or social actions supported by this business, unlike like other local business, for example Gordon Bennett who seem to do a lot of work to support the local community. surboSam

5:20pm Tue 17 Dec 13

DB says...

surboSam wrote:
This is very sad, but the shop doesn't seem to have a website, the frontage is not very welcoming and the staff tend to talk down to customers, an attitude which the manager seems to highlight when saying "the lack of support from the local community". I am probably wrong but I don't remember seeing any events or social actions supported by this business, unlike like other local business, for example Gordon Bennett who seem to do a lot of work to support the local community.
Definitely a problem not having a website and on the customer service side, but sponsorship is difficult if you are not making any money to start with.

Gordon Bennett and it's sister pub the Surbiton Flyer are well run establishments engaged in a business that actually makes sense given the population of Surbiton. I bet they make a fortune and they can well afford to sponsor events to further grow their business.

We need to find a way to support shops like jewellers in Surbiton, but even if being better run and promoting themselves with a website successfully boosted business, would it be enough to make money after the exhorbitant costs of rates and rent?
[quote][p][bold]surboSam[/bold] wrote: This is very sad, but the shop doesn't seem to have a website, the frontage is not very welcoming and the staff tend to talk down to customers, an attitude which the manager seems to highlight when saying "the lack of support from the local community". I am probably wrong but I don't remember seeing any events or social actions supported by this business, unlike like other local business, for example Gordon Bennett who seem to do a lot of work to support the local community.[/p][/quote]Definitely a problem not having a website and on the customer service side, but sponsorship is difficult if you are not making any money to start with. Gordon Bennett and it's sister pub the Surbiton Flyer are well run establishments engaged in a business that actually makes sense given the population of Surbiton. I bet they make a fortune and they can well afford to sponsor events to further grow their business. We need to find a way to support shops like jewellers in Surbiton, but even if being better run and promoting themselves with a website successfully boosted business, would it be enough to make money after the exhorbitant costs of rates and rent? DB

2:02pm Wed 18 Dec 13

RWWhite says...

surboSam wrote:
This is very sad, but the shop doesn't seem to have a website, the frontage is not very welcoming and the staff tend to talk down to customers, an attitude which the manager seems to highlight when saying "the lack of support from the local community".

I am probably wrong but I don't remember seeing any events or social actions supported by this business, unlike like other local business, for example Gordon Bennett who seem to do a lot of work to support the local community.
Exactly! I was thinking the same thing. Plus in all honesty, their products were really overpriced.

I believe it was a lack of customer service and good pricing strategy that caused it to close down. A fault not of the community and council, but the management and owners themselves.
[quote][p][bold]surboSam[/bold] wrote: This is very sad, but the shop doesn't seem to have a website, the frontage is not very welcoming and the staff tend to talk down to customers, an attitude which the manager seems to highlight when saying "the lack of support from the local community". I am probably wrong but I don't remember seeing any events or social actions supported by this business, unlike like other local business, for example Gordon Bennett who seem to do a lot of work to support the local community.[/p][/quote]Exactly! I was thinking the same thing. Plus in all honesty, their products were really overpriced. I believe it was a lack of customer service and good pricing strategy that caused it to close down. A fault not of the community and council, but the management and owners themselves. RWWhite

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