Leo Gillen, managing director of Gillens stores in Hartlepool, has noticed that his bank has increased charges. “They’re being edged up all of the time but it would be difficult to switch banks at the moment,” he told C-Store. “This time last year, they were queuing up to offer money but now it’s impossible to even get an increased overdraft.” Leo added that the supply chain was feeling the pinch. “We’re having to pay our suppliers on a weekly basis because they’re unable to offer credit, which puts us under added pressure,” he said. Dave Newman, who owns two stores in Hastings, East Sussex, says he was not initially concerned about the current economic situation as he has found that when money is tight people tend to visit his stores more rather than supermarkets. But since the bail-out he says he is starting to question his bank. “But then where else can I put my money?” he said. Dave recently sold one of his stores for a price agreed in March before the financial crisis began. “While I didn’t get as much for it as I may have last year, I was still lucky to get a decent price,” he said. “However, I’m unsure about how to invest the money from it, especially considering the current market.” Leo Gillen added that “only one of the big chains can really afford to be buying new stores right now,” but Tony Evans, head of retail at property consultancy Christie & Co, said that convenience stores are still very much in demand. “Despite the current economic uncertainty and legislative issues facing the sector, the appetite for convenience stores is still extremely healthy,” he said.

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