Norwich city centre gift store to close

A shop owner who spent decades trading in Norwich is moving his business online in a bid to cut costs.

Robin Thomsett has owned Arcadia Gifts for the past 25 years, but can no longer afford to keep his business in the Royal Arcade due to the poor economic climate.

The 62-year-old hopes the new online store will help his gift company survive, despite fears that more independent traders will disappear from the city in the future.

Mr Thomsett, of Sloley, North Walsham, said: 'In this current economic situation, the shift in customer shopping patterns and the strong move towards the internet, we have decided not to renew our lease.

'It is the end of a big chapter in my business life, but it has got to be done. We have staff who have been with us since we started and it is a pity that another independent shop is closing.'

The new website is already up and running and includes a wide range of gifts from home ware and teddy bears, to candles and garden accessories.

Mr Thomsett continued: 'The decision to move online is our decision and I would not criticise anyone else.

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'We had a very hard time in the run-up to Christmas and we rely on people having a disposable income, which has been cut. Our aim is to do as well as we can from the website and hopefully our customers will follow us there. This is new territory for me, but I have lots of support.'

Arcadia Gifts are currently holding a half- price sale as staff prepare to close the store and move permanently online.

To see the online store visit

Do you have a story about a Norwich business? Contact reporter Ben Woods on 01603 772439 or visit