Store owner says high rent may force him to close

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  • Makeshift advertising: A reader sent in this photo illustrating Darren Booth's unconventional way of bringing in customers.

    Makeshift advertising: A reader sent in this photo illustrating Darren Booth's unconventional way of bringing in customers.

  • Straining under rental costs: Darren Booth at the Booth in Washington Mall (Photo by Mark Tatem)

    Straining under rental costs: Darren Booth at the Booth in Washington Mall (Photo by Mark Tatem)


The owner of clothing, sports gear and luggage store The Booth says he may be forced to close his doors in the New Year if the economy doesn’t improve and his $10,500 a month rent isn’t lowered.

Longtime local retailer Darren Booth, who also owns Heel Quik in the original Washington Mall, said the rent for his store in the third phase of the Washington Mall included maintenance, electricity/utilities and taxes. But due to the deep downturn in the economy it was becoming impossible to come up with that amount each month, he said.

He said he had contacted his Washington Mall landlord and was hoping for a break, but understood they had costs to cover as well, being a brand-new building, and that there were probably others in the same boat as him in wanting their rent lowered.

In the meantime, Mr Booth said he has had to get creative in getting people into the store, plus reduce his expenses and cut staff.

This week, he caused a small stir when he made his own banner to promote his two-for-one sale and wrapped it around his van in a parking lot.

“I can’t afford to advertise,” he laughed. “But it did the trick. We had quite few comments and Wednesday was a pretty good day for sales for us.”

The Booth has being holding a number of sales and promotions recently and is currently having what’s called a BOGO (Buy One, Get One half off) sale; it began yesterday and runs through today. Luggage is included in the sale.

“It is possible we might close come January or February depending on whether we get a reduction on rent,” Mr Booth said. “After Christmas is going to be the big killer.”

“It’s been a terrible year for retail and the last few months were really terrible. I don’t think it’s the quality, service or prices really, a lot of people just won’t even come in and look any more. It’s the economy.”

Mr Booth said he did not want to end up in a vicious cycle of being unable to pay rent and bills.

The Booth, known for its trendy brands including, PUMA, Helly Hansen, RVCA and High Sierra, opened in the new Washington Mall three years ago.

The volume of retails sales has fallen in Bermuda every year since 2007, from a 2.5 percent decrease in that year to a 4.1 percent dip in 2011. Retail sales volume is down 1.1 percent for this year through September.

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Published Nov 23, 2012 at 8:00 am (Updated Nov 22, 2012 at 6:37 pm)

Store owner says high rent may force him to close

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