OVER the last decade town centres and high streets across the country have slowly but surely become less attractive – both for shoppers and business owners.

As much as many of us would agree on the unrivalled qualities of tangibility, the convenience of online shopping has made the need for in-person browsing obsolete.

Sadly, dwindling footfalls have seen many shops and businesses shut their doors, either to then capitalise on the digital market or with a view of folding altogether.

In Colchester, for example, stalwart retailers such as Debenhams, Topshop, Topman and Burton have all vacated the town in recent years.

Clacton has also suffered, with the likes of Clintons, Mothercare, Dorothy Perkins, and Marks & Spencer all shutting up shop and moving on.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

With the recent launch of JD Sports in Lion Walk, however, and reports of a discount store possibly moving into a large empty unit in Clacton, there might yet be hope.

Regardless of what the future holds for our high streets, there is no denying the impact Christmastime can have on the retail sector and its businesses.

Some shoppers, however, might this year find their usual go-to stores have shut, so asked our readers what shops they miss the most during the festive season.

In somewhat of a blast from the past, many said they actually still pined for the days of Woolworths, while others also pointed out Thorntons’ departure.

Clacton resident Martin Hall said: “It always has to be Woolworths – it was the biggest mistake getting rid of it.

“I loved the pick ‘n’ mix and the CD and DVD section, and it was good for stationary, to buy Christmas decoration, kids toys and household bits.

“It had it all, not forgetting wall poster boards, but that history you will not get back.”

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

Debenhams and BHS also proved popular suggestions among our readers, as did long-running toy shops such as Toys ‘R’ Us, a perfect Christmas present destination.

As side the shops themselves, Janet Gardner, of Colchester, also misses the atmosphere that a packed and thriving high street would generate.

She said: “I was commenting today on how dull and dreary Colchester High Street is - it used to be bustling.

“Now if you don't want coffee, alcohol, a phone or a house, you need to go to the Lion Walk Shopping Centre.”