Page last updated at 07:45 GMT, Friday, 23 October 2009 08:45 UK
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23 OCT 2009

Peter Gallagher on the challenges facing Shirley Market

26 JAN 2009

Mr Gallagher was hoping the cut in VAT would help his business.

"We are holding our own. There's no reason why the recession should be negative. The VAT cut and falling interest rates help."

Shirley Market
Address: 94-96, Shirley High St
Years on the street: 24
Number of staff: 12
Owner: Peter Gallagher, 43
Company service: 15 years

Mr Gallagher is gearing up for his busiest time of year at the discount store, Shirley Market, which is bursting with Halloween goodies and he also specialises in fireworks.

"This is the time of year when I can try to increase my turnover," he says. "But I've noticed some of my bigger customers for fireworks, about half a dozen of them, are just not around this year. Those who would spend around £1,000 on a display have not got the money."

He says that overall his business has the same turnover as last year, while his prices are rising marginally - for example from £1.10 to £1.20.

The kinds of people who use his shop are less likely to be affected directly by the credit crunch.

Peter Gallagher, discount store owner
The type of people who would usually shop at John Lewis. They're coming in and looking for things like tin openers
Peter Gallagher

"A lot of the people live within their means; they get their wages, pay their rent, tax, then their food. They're not the sort of people who need to borrow a large amount of money. It's inflation which will affect them," he says.

He thinks the government measures to help small businesses will not help him as such ideas tend to be countered by the negative effect of other policies.

"You've got offers of deferring VAT payments on one side, but I have to offer flexible working on the other. I can't run my business by allowing people to come in when they can," he says.

Overall, Mr Gallagher says he is feeling positive about his business, despite all the talk of a recession.

"If you encourage a sense of positivity, it can only become real. Being down about it will not change a thing."

9 OCT 2008

Peter Gallagher has followed in his father-in-law's footsteps

Shirley Market, the general discount store, which has been in Shirley for 30 years, has recently attracted a more upmarket customer.

Peter Gallagher explains: "The person who wouldn't usually shop in this kind of place. The type of people who would usually shop at John Lewis. They're coming in and looking for things like tin openers."

"We're not having a great time of it but we're not as bad as others may be. Saying that, it's hard. As individuals we have to work a little bit harder at it."

He says they are not suffering from a drop in customers, but from increased bank charges on overdrafts and credit card transactions.

"Anything we claw back through increased demand gets nicked backed at the other end which hurts me," he says.

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