Shops: his “daily struggle” to revitalize the city center of Castres

the essential
Aware of the lack of attractiveness of the town center of Castres, the manager Frédéric Huart, does not slow down his efforts to negotiate the prices of commercial premises deemed too expensive and thus meet the strong demand of project managers and consumer expectations.

Spring has been synonymous with change for the Castres shops. Since the beginning of 2023, the municipality has already identified about thirty commercial openings in the city center and near the ridge. But for comparison, 2022 saw no fewer than 60 new businesses spring up in the city and mostly in the foodservice and retail areas.

A notable difference that the manager of the city centre, Frédéric Huart, seeks to justify with a “social climate which is not favourable. Less attendance, more expectations of sales and promotions, a smaller average basket… The combination of everything makes trade difficult but it is general.

“But today, technically, the heart of Castres is less bad than other cities. The national average for the vacation rate is 13%. We are between 9 and 10%”, adds the manager, however “aware” of the lack of attractiveness. “We know that the city center is not doing well, but the figures are not catastrophic either. There are business openings. It may not always correspond to the expectations of the public, but used premises remain which are no longer free and which will no longer be warts. It still carries a certain dynamic”, confides Frédéric Huart.

Rents too high?

“Objectively, what I am faced with today is finding premises that meet the demand of the project leaders. Those that remain on the market are in very bad condition, too small or too expensive and this is annoying. So we try to discuss with the owners, we ask them to reduce fixed costs or to do works on their premises and in general afterwards they find disproportionate tenants” and “inaccessible for the self-employed” and that certain “above ground” real estate agents are “disconnected” from the current economic reality. “Let’s say that these prices correspond to a period of good business in the city center and that is no longer the case,” he adds.

Relocations and new businesses

An Italian grocery store (rue Fuziès), Barbour moving to rue Émile Zola, La Loge hairdresser moving to rue Sabatier, a tarterie (carré Gambetta), a tea room (place Soult), a restaurant (rue d’Empare)…

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