Report shows strengths and weaknesses of town’s shops, pubs and restaurants

Shopping in Morecambe.
Shopping in Morecambe.

Morecambe was praised as ‘a great town and great shopping experience’ by a leading firm of mystery shoppers.

But more than half its shopkeepers admitted takings were down year-on-year – and shoppers said staff showed little community spirit.

Retail experts Storechecker gave Morecambe a 72 per cent score – the same as Birmingham – after visiting and rating 50 shops, pubs and restaurants.

But the survey revealed customer service in many town centre shops was “below par” and sales skills “weak”.

Some staff were found to lack “energy, passion and enthusiasm” and displayed poor knowledge of the local area.

The Storechecker report said: “Staff don’t see raising visitors’ time in Morecambe as their responsibility. They need to develop a community spirit. Many businesses in Morecambe are losing profits through weak sales.”

Staff were also told they needed to be more welcoming to all customers and watch out for shopper ‘buying signals’.

The mystery shopper visits were carried out in January and February this year at 37 shops and 13 dining establishments.

Morecambe shops scored highest on products and pricing, venue appearance and staff image, which were rated “very strong”.

But only 10 of the businesses received full marks on local knowledge, with 14 scoring 50 per cent or below.

The average overall score for pubs and restaurants was 80 per cent, 8 per cent better than retail.

Storechecker also recently surveyed Worcester and Liverpool shopping centres, rating them 84 per cent and 82 per cent respectively.

The survey revealed a fifth of Morecambe shoppers were put off by high car parking prices.

The market research was paid for by Morecambe Town Team out of the town’s ‘Portas Pilot’ scheme funds.

Morecambe was awarded £100,000 and status as a flagship high street in 2012 in a Government scheme backed by retail guru Mary Portas.