Blackburn's historic Mercer's Toys to close

Owner Rose Fowler has cited lack of footfall and increasing rates as the reason behind the closure of the 169-year-old business.
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A historic toyshop in Blackburn is set to close its doors for the last time, with lack of footfall being cited as the main reason.

Mercer’s Toys owner, Rose Fowler has said that she is being forced to draw a line under the 169-year-old business because it was no longer financially viable.

According to Fowler, turnover has dropped by 50 per cent over the last two years, while access to the store had been made difficult for many customers, owing to road closures and road works.

Mercer’s Toys moved to Blackburn’s Darwen Stret in January 2009, after the former Mercer’s store in Northgate – which had sold toys, hardware and household goods in the town for 169 years – closed.

Fowler told the Lancashire Telegraph: “I have put a lot into the business in terms of money and time. This has been a very hard decision to make. I really don’t want to do it, but it’s turned out that I have to. I feel I have no other option.”

Fowler had worked at the old Mercer’s store’s toy department for 17 years before setting up the current shop. Now, with her business rates relief due to end soon, she would have to pay an extra £2,500 a year n top of the £700 she pays every month.

Mercer’s Toy will remain open until late September to give Fowler time to shift remaining stock.

“I have had a few customers in [since the news broke] and they said it’s very sad news,” added Fowler.

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