Bo’ness town centre retailers angered by a local businessman’s claims that they damage trade by closing early have hit back, saying they adhere to normal hours.
But the businessman has stuck by his allegations, claiming 20 shops were closed in the town centre by 4.15pm on Saturday.
Jay Duployen of Logic Computer Services in North Street had claimed early closing was stifling business in Bo’ness.
But a spokeswoman for other local retailers disagreed and said most adhered to hours they were meant to be open. ‘‘Most don’t close half days. Most are open from 9.30am until 4-30pm, and a lot are open from 9am-5pm,’’ she said. ‘‘Only a few shops close for a full day and others close for half a day. We get a lot of support from people in the town and we stick to normal hours. We get great support not only from local people in Bo’ness but also from people from outwith the area.
‘‘The last thing we want is a suggestion that the town centre is not open for business. We most certainly are, and we stick to normal opening hours.
‘‘We’ve had a lot of new shops open in the town centre over the past few years and shoppers welcome that. There has also been a lot of favourable comments on the Bo’ness Shops Facebook page.’’
She addded that Mr Duployen had been invited to regular retailers’ meetings but had not attended.
Mr Duployen said: ‘‘I drove round Bo’ness on Saturday and saw 20 shops closed by 4.15pm. No one has invited me to attend any meetings apart from one. At that, we agreed to do certain things which were never done.
‘‘Some retailers agreed to stay open till 8pm for four weeks in the lead-up to Christmas. We did that and a few others, but most didn’t. That puts me off.’’