Log In

Reset Password

Clocktower Mall sales sink

First Prev 1 2 3 4 5 Next Last

Sales at Dockyard's Clocktower Mall have plummeted by up to 30 per cent after a road closure cut off access to stores, angry shopkeepers said yesterday.

The drop in business came after Dockyard operators, the West End Development Corporation, pedestrianised the Clocktower Parade between the fountain outside the mall to jewellery store Diamonds International.

Wedco said the pedestrianisation was designed to make the area safer and more attractive — but the shopkeepers said concrete barriers have stopped the flow of people. Boyd Vallis, who runs Fairtrade Bermuda, said: “We are losing sales in a big way. The traffic flow is not encouraging people into the mall.

“There are concrete barriers out there in the road. It just doesn't look inviting.”

He added that shopkeepers in the mall were told about the traffic change just before it came into effect. Mr Vallis added: “This is the worst time of year to do it. It's still the busy season and our sales are down 20, 30 per cent depending on the day.

“This is when we are supposed to save enough money to make it through the winter because we have to pay rent regardless.”

Carole Holding, an artist who has a store in the mall, said her business had also suffered. She said: “We had hired staff for the season. If Wedco don't do something, we might have to let people go. Bermuda needs to give people work, but this decision is taking work away from them.”

Ms Holding criticised the lack of notice for the change and the decision to implement it in the busy summer season.

She said: “They claimed they have been working on this for ten years. I think we all fell off our chairs. Why hadn't we heard about it? Why do it suddenly midseason?

“It's ridiculous. Are they going to give us free rent for the whole winter? I don't know, because we have lost four weeks and if they don't revert it, we will continue to lose.”

She said the concrete barriers installed on the road outside the mall had discouraged visitors from visiting the Clocktower.

Ms Holding said: “The building looks like it's a construction site.

“After they put up the barrier, we had the possibly the worst Tuesday we have ever had. It's just so frustrating.”

She added that the pedestrianisation had also taken away valuable parking spaces and that the lack of parking spaces was worsened by Wedco renting out spaces for events.

Ms Holding said: “We have been told on Saturday and Sunday the car park is not available because they rented it out to some company.

She added that Wedco could have used the former America's Cup village or Moresby Plain on Ireland Island North for events.

Wedco announced last week that it would pedestrianise Clocktower Parade and traffic has now been rerouted along Apprentice Lane and Smithery Lane.

The mall had a steady flow of people yesterday afternoon, but shopkeepers said it was only because both cruise ships in port were preparing to leave.

Burton Jones, owner and manager of the gift store Littlest Drawbridge, said: “There has been no explanation about why they are doing this and what impact it's going to have on our businesses.

“We haven't been in the loop at all. We need to be part of the planning process.”

He added that concerns about the Dockyard Train Shuttle's ability to get to the front of the mall had been dealt with.

But he questioned why Wedco would implement the road layout change while the season was still busy.

Joanna Cranfield, business development manager for Wedco, said the pedestrianisation plan had been on the table for years and the corporation waited until late in the summer season to test it.

She added: “Earlier this year, we were given the go-ahead by the Wedco board to implement the plan. We need to test it when it is busy in order to properly gauge its effectiveness.

“We did wait until the end of August to implement the pedestrianisation plan which is towards the latter half of the season.”

Ms Cranfield said Wedco had heard complaints from some tenants in the mall once the road changes were made.

She added: “I immediately arranged to meet with their representative to see how we could effectively make changes to address their concerns.

“I met with the representative of The Mall retailers on Monday morning at 8.30am by which time we carried out tests with the Dockyard Train Shuttle to ascertain its ability to navigate the roundabout in front of the mall.

“We did have to relocate the taxi zone and some parking spaces to achieve this, but it was the main area of the mall tenants' concern and therefore implemented immediately.”

Ms Cranfield said the traffic changes were a pilot scheme.

She added: “I do appreciate that there may be some kinks that need ironing out and we will address them as we find them.

“We will not attempt any major structural change to the roadways until we know if this scheme will become permanent.

“We will be monitoring and reviewing this scheme — but I'd like to add that so far the majority of the feedback received has been extremely positive.”

Big change: concrete barriers are shown blocking Clock Tower Parade between the Clocktower building and the North Basin, Ireland Island North. Dockyard merchants have begun to see a negative effect of the recent pedestrianisation of the area (Photographs by Akil Simmons)
Unintended effect: a view from within the Clocktower Mall

You must be Registered or to post comment or to vote.

Published September 01, 2018 at 9:00 am (Updated September 01, 2018 at 8:02 am)

Clocktower Mall sales sink

What you
Need to
1. For a smooth experience with our commenting system we recommend that you use Internet Explorer 10 or higher, Firefox or Chrome Browsers. Additionally please clear both your browser's cache and cookies - How do I clear my cache and cookies?
2. Please respect the use of this community forum and its users.
3. Any poster that insults, threatens or verbally abuses another member, uses defamatory language, or deliberately disrupts discussions will be banned.
4. Users who violate the Terms of Service or any commenting rules will be banned.
5. Please stay on topic. "Trolling" to incite emotional responses and disrupt conversations will be deleted.
6. To understand further what is and isn't allowed and the actions we may take, please read our Terms of Service
7. To report breaches of the Terms of Service use the flag icon