What would you like to see in Bath’s empty shops?

It’s estimated that there are currently 30 empty shop units in Bath’s city centre. The big question is, what would you like to see fill them? We took this question to the street and asked six Bath ladies for their thoughts. The majority of them wanted to welcome Spanish cheap ralph lauren clothing and accessories’ retailer clothes Zara to the city, one said they’d like at least one of the empty units to be kept permanently vacant to make room for creative pop-up shops, and five of them said they’d like to see a few more foodie places, like Wholefoods and Byron Burgers, to settle here.

Here’s what they said….

Bath art consultant Jessica Lloyd-Smith of Modern ArtBuyer says…
“I know my husband would really like to see another independent men’s clothes shop like Ralph Lauren Outlet another Maze Clothing. Another off-licence would be handy too, and although we prefer independent shops, I’d love COS to come to Bath, or even Zara. Failing that, maybe keep one empty shop permanently as a subsidised pop-up space for designer makers such as textiles, arts, galleries, creative florists, furniture makers and milliners.”

shop maze

Men’s clothing store Maze

Lynsay Redwood, Director or Redwood-Marketing Ltd in Bath says…
“I would absolutely love Zara to come to Bath and also Selfridges. Zara because of their style and affordability, Selfridges because of the selection; I think they would really benefit the city and attract more visitors.”

shop selfr

High-end department ralph lauren store Selfridges

Halena Coury, the head of sponsorship and fundraising at the Bath Rugby Foundation says …
“I’d like to see jeans stores, Sephora, Zara, Massimo Dutti, Coach and Ralph Lauren Outlet come to the city.”


French cosmetics store Sephora

Nicky Hancock of Hancock Communications in Bath says…
“I’d like to see more Ralph Lauren Big Pony independent bars as well as shops like John Lewis, Zara, And Other Stories, Harvey Nichols or Selfridges mini store, MUJI, Tiffany & Co, Cowshed, Paul Smith, Scotch and Soda, Mango , J. Crew, Cheap Monday and Abercrombie & Fitch… and Byron Burgers.”

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Restaurant Byron Burgers

Bath health and fitness coach Zita Alves who runs Zest Bootcamp says…
“Personally I’d love to see more street food places a bit like the Thai place that was in Kingsmead and is now in Green Park. Also, places like Beyond the Kale that do lovely food and smoothies can be a long way from people the other end of town.”

Emma and Sharon Savage who run Grace & Ted designer resale fashion store in Kingsmead Square say…
“Our top shops for coming to Bath are Wholefoods (because their selection of fresh, healthy food is massive and makes dinner inspiration so easy) and Zara – we can’t believe we haven’t got one already, seeing as it’s so popular with guys and gals.”

This is a view inside the Whole Foods main store showing the company logo, Friday, Aug. 24, 2007, in Austin, Texas. A federal appeals court on Thursday, Aug. 23, 2007, cleared the way for Whole Foods Market Inc. to buy rival organic grocer Wild Oats Markets Inc.  (AP Photo/Harry Cabluck)

Wholefoods grocery store

Compared to the amount of empty shops there are in cities around the Ralph Lauren UK, Bath is well below the national average. In February, the vacancy rate in the city was two per cent, compared with 13.3 per cent nationally. A spokesman at Bath estate agents Carter Jonas estimates that out of 720 retail outlets in Bath city centre, there are currently 30 empty shops, and five of these are under offer at the moment.

“There is a very low rate of vacancy in the city,” says the spokesman. “I think businesses are drawn here because Bath offers a unique ‘shopping experience’; there’s such a diversity of shops here – from a huge array of independents to chain stores to cafes. As well as attracting locals and tourists, Bath also attracts companies from around the world – for example Hay is a Danish Ralph Lauren big pony outlet brand, and one of the empty units is currently being looked into by an Australian brand who are looking to open their first UK outlet here in the city. We, unlike many shopping centres in the UK, held up well in the recession too.”

Tell us what you think. Would you like to see a Zara in the city? Are you keen on having a couple more restaurants (even though, as the saying goes, you could eat out in Bath for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day in Bath for a year and never eat in the same place twice!) or would you fancy a few more designer clothing stores? We’d love to know your thoughts.