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Shop owner to go online only 'because I can't afford the rent and rates'

PUBLISHED: 11:12 05 December 2019 | UPDATED: 15:19 05 December 2019

Lesley Pratt, who's opened a new pop-up shop in Orford Place, Norwich. Pic: Archant

Lesley Pratt, who's opened a new pop-up shop in Orford Place, Norwich. Pic: Archant

The owner of a pop-up ladies fashion store in Norwich has said she'd love to have a permanent shop - but can't afford the £6,000 a month bills.

The new pop-up Lazy Gift store in Norwich. Pic: ArchantThe new pop-up Lazy Gift store in Norwich. Pic: Archant

Lesley Pratt, who's opened the Lazy Gift Outlet in Orford Place, next to Thorntons chocolate shop, said the temporary unit was costing in the region of £6,000 a month in combined rent and business rates- meaning having a permanent high street store was not possible.

"We'll be going online only in January, we just can't afford the rent and business rates. so we're looking at selling online, using Facebook.

"It's such a shame as the feedback from customers has been they want small, independent shops, we've had a really lovely welcome."

The new pop-up Lazy Gift store in Norwich. Pic: ArchantThe new pop-up Lazy Gift store in Norwich. Pic: Archant

MORE: 'The internet and high rents have killed off my bookshop' says store owner

The new pop-up Lazy Gift store in Norwich. Pic: ArchantThe new pop-up Lazy Gift store in Norwich. Pic: Archant

In fact, customers have also enjoyed meeting a special new addition to the business.

Mrs Pratt has a new puppy Ruby, who has her own doggie bed by the cash till in the store.

The puppy has been a real hit with customers apparently, with some customers coming in to the store regularly to give her doggie treats.

The shop is called the 'Lazy Gift' because Mrs Pratt, who used to help run an agricultural engineering firm in Norfolk, sources the products, taking the hard work out of finding items.

The new pop-up Lazy Gift store in Norwich. Pic: ArchantThe new pop-up Lazy Gift store in Norwich. Pic: Archant

She sources products from abroad, including Italy, and her leather handbags have been popular, as well as boxed gloves, jumpers and coats.

But able to set her own pricing, the idea is she tries to keep the cost of items as reasonable as possible so the suede gloves, in various colours and with faux animal print additions, are for sale for £9.99.

"The handbags have been popular and the candles, what we're finding is we have many people who come back. I'd love a shop because people do like to touch items and see what they look like."

Also proving popular are faux fur coats and Mrs Pratt has helped create attractive shop windows using some of the more brightly coloured items which she said helps attract people in.

The new pop-up Lazy Gift store in Norwich. Pic: ArchantThe new pop-up Lazy Gift store in Norwich. Pic: Archant

Mrs Pratt has the unit until December 28 after which she plans to close and move the business online. Her partner comes from Bath so they've had a temporary outlet there too.

Mrs Pratt's new shop is situated in a unit formerly occupied by art gallery, Gallery Rouge which closed in March after running in the city for two years.

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Lesley Pratt and her puppy, Ruby. Pic: ArchantLesley Pratt and her puppy, Ruby. Pic: Archant

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