POLITICS

Simon Dunn, Chocolatier In George Osborne's Constituency, Forced To Shut After High Street Struggle

01/08/2013 17:01 BST | Updated 01/08/2013 17:29 BST
Cavendish Press

A chocolatier in Chancellor George Osborne's constituency has left an impassioned goodbye note on his store's front window revealing how the high costs of running his shop made it financially unsustainable.

Simon Dunn told customers in his letter that after suffering sleepless nights from making just £100 profit "on a good week", he found it impossible to keep his shop going in Wilmslow, Cheshire, which is in the Chancellor's Tatton constituency.

The 52-year old shop owner, whose clients included Sir Alex Ferguson and Premier League footballers, revealed that his £208,000 annual revenue for the "busy, popular and good" shop was eaten up by £52,000 in rent and business rates, £41,600 in VAT and taxes, £41,600 in supplies and £67,600 on wages.

letter

He wrote: "It is with deep sadness I have had to cease trading from this wonderful shop.

"Before long all that will be left on the British high street is Tesco, Costa and charity shops - it’s just impossible for people like me to keep our heads above the water.

"Then there’s the electric, insurance, bank charges, bins etc etc etc. Nothing left for me and I’m the one running and trying to keep it all ticking over, lying awake at night at night trying to work out how to increase sales doing everything possible.

"I have always been very lucky as everyone who has worked for me has always stood by me and done their best - without these, maybe this would have happened sooner."

Dunn later told the Daily Mail: "I’m afraid independent traders on the high street just don’t have a chance these days in this tough current economic climate. I have to turn over a certain amount just to keep moving, but if I go over that amount suddenly I find myself in a position where I can be taxed more.

"[The Chancellor] ought to know the importance of independent business and try to do something to help us."

When it was originally opened in 2007, the shop took £6,000 a week, enabling him to develop his brand into a franchise and open five further branches in the North-West and another in Dorset.

Dunn's chocolates will still be available for purchase online and from a newly-opened shop on Chestergate in Macclesfield, which is run by his daughter Camilla, as well as his other branches.

When the Huffington Post UK contacted the Chancellor's office in Parliament and in his constituency, no-one was available for comment.

Simon Carr, vice chairman of Wilmslow Business Group, said: “It’s a huge loss to see an independent retailer struggling in this way and that they have to make the decision to pull out of the town. Not only is it another unit that needs to be filled but it’s a huge loss because of the way Simon conducted his business.

“He was a great businessman who provided something different to the rest of the high street. It would be lovely for the council to reduce rates but I don’t really think they can, but I do think they can do more to increase footfall into the town."