A sad farewell to Peglers of Arundel

Further fatalities from the world of Independent Retailing.

With regret and sadness, I see that Peglers of Arundel have been forced to close their Outdoor Shops by a Bankruptcy Petition by Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs.

Since the Tories and Liberal Democrats have come into power, I must say HMRC have been anything but supportive of independent businesses. Periods of grace that were previously offered under the Labour government were swiftly revoked as the Tories and Lib Dems clambered to increase tax receipts.

Postponing or deferring VAT payments is one way that struggling independents have weathered the ongoing economic storm. When HMRC, acting on the instruction of Chancellor George Osborne, removed this facility, it has had a catastrophic impact on many independent retailers.

Peglers on the HillI’ve very fond memories of our shopping expeditions to Peglers where you were always assured of a warm, friendly welcome with the most knowledgeable staff you could ever hope to find.

When in 2006, I set off to ride from Land’s End to John O Groats on a traditional, 3-speed Dutch bike, it was Peglers I visited to source my gear including sleeping bag, stove, foods and maps as well as lots of useful and helpful advice which made passage planning all that more easy.

Later, I bought a number of Kayaks, live jackets and paddles from them and again their advice and help was first class.

A family business, Peglers was known not only for the quirky names of its Arundel based shops – Peglers Below the Knee, Peglers on the Hill, Peglers Round the Bend – but for being an independent outdoor shop run by outdoor enthusiast who lived and breathed the products they stocked and sold.

Peglers round the BendOriginally, the ‘shop’ was set up in the families front room where they sold sleeping bags, climbing boots and tents from the lounge floor – they quickly established a reputation for stocking quality out door products and their business quickly grew.

In Littlehampton, Peglers was the first and only name amongst the youth looking to source kit for the Duke of Edinburgh Award. Many of these ‘youths’ will now have their own children, and I’m sure will remember with nostalgic fondness visiting Peglers Below the Knee, to try on a range of boots eager and anxious embarking on their first outdoor expedition.

You just don’t get that sort of buzz drop-click shopping on the Internet.

A notice posted on the Climbing Forum and a similar Notice in their window announced the sad news:

Peglers has been forced to cease trading by a petition to bankruptcy by the crown / HMRC effective 10/05/2013.

The Partners have asked us to post this as a means of contacting the climbing community they’ve been part of for the last 25 years.

We are sorry to be gone, pleased to have made many friends across the shop counter and to have climbed with some of you on both rock and ice over the last 30 Peglers Ice Fests.

For anyone that has goods paid for but not delivered please reclaim the money through your card provider or if that is not possible please write to :

The Administrator
Peglers Mountain Shop
69 Tarrant Street
West Sussex<
BN18 9DN
Thank you and take care.

Dave and Richard

This week we learnt that the retailing giant AMAZON has received in excess of £2.5million in subsidies from the UK taxpayer – in fact it’s subsidies exceeds what it pays in corporation tax despite exceeding £7 billion in sales in the UK alone.

Yet, it’s not Amazon that HMRC (aka the Taxman) is going after, but a small, quality independent retail store in Arundel.

In our business, The Dutch Bike Shop – we have paid more tax as a small bicycle shop based in Littlehampton that StarBucks in the UK.

Starbucks with an a turnover of £400million paid no Corporation Tax.

While we, a small independent bicycle shop in Pier Road, Littlehampton paid corporation tax on a small profit generated by a turnover of less than £250,000.

Let me say that again.

A small bicycle shop in Littlehampton with an annual turnover of less than £250,000 pays Corporation Tax on the profit we make.

Starbucks with an annual Turnover of £400 million – pays no Corporation Tax as it claims it cannot make a profit on these figures.

A small bicycle shop in a town of 16,000 people pays more in Corporation Tax than Starbucks do in the United Kingdom.

Meanwhile –

Amazon with an annual Turnover of £7 billion gets £2.5 million in Government subsidies.

Peglers a local independent business gets forced into Bankruptcy by the Tax man.

Over the years, the contribution by Peglers to the exchequer both in business rates on the 3 High Street shops they leased, together with the National Insurance contributions they made on their staff – not mentioning the number of people who Peglers employed, all adds up to a substantial contribution to the well-being of the local and National economy.

Something is very wrong.

This county is now run by supermarkets, bean counters and bureaucrats.

I wish Dave and Richard all the very best in working things out and hopefully securing the bright future they deserve.

From us all in the independent retailing world, good luck and thanks.

Paul Power

9 thoughts on “A sad farewell to Peglers of Arundel

  1. I’m sorry Peglars are gone, but I think their farewell note is a bit cavalier. My husband has lost £12000 as a loyal supplier, has had zero contact about this turn of events from Peglars and has only discovered the news by internet. I’m glad Peglars enjoyed their Ice Fests – it was at other people’s expense.

    • While I can sympathise with any one that may have also been affected by this sad turn of events, there are often complex rules applicable to bankruptcy that can make it hard, if not illegal for those who have been forced to cease trading, to contact their creditors either prior to or following the petition being served. The correspondence above has been done via the Administrator, which in itself is evidence of these constraints.
      It could not have been easy for Dave and Rich to prepare a statement at very short notice, in the middle of their turmoil, that adequately conveyed their sentiments to the massive cross section of people that have benefitted from Peglers over all the years.
      If it is any consolation to you Karen, in many instances the Administrators, given time, may well be able to honour some, if not all the business’s debts, so all is not lost. Sadly, the same lifeline is not there for Dave and Rich so my thoughts are with them and their families.

  2. Whilst it is very sad to see a local, family run establishment fail, the feeling is that this is yet another case of a business not moving with the times. Whilst there will always be a requirement for that personal service in the selecting and fitting of items such as walking boots, we can all buy maps, compasses, karabiners, backpacks, Trangias etc on line from a huge range of places. In these times of tight budgets this is what the sensible person does – its good business sense. I am not going to take time out of my day and pay for fuel, to drive to Arundel to buy an item that I could get much cheaper somewhere else just to get the “Buzz” of being in the shop. Sorry Paul you are living 20 years in the past. Also don’t blame Starbucks for Peglers demise – they had nothing to do with it. Amazon, on the other hand, have had a significant effect. Whilst they saw the future in internet selling and carved a market for themselves, Peglers opened further shops in Arundel – with the result of even greater overheads. In hindsight not a good business decision, which has duly come back to haunt them.

    We wish Dave and Richard well and hope that something can be resolved as there is very much still a market for a quality outdoor activity supplier between Chichester and Brighton.

    • Thanks for your contribution.

      I haven’t suggested that Starbucks are responsible for the demise of Peglers. I’ve merely pointed out that my own business, a relatively small cycle shop in Littlehampton has paid more in Corporation Tax than Starbucks have in the UK.

      I don’t fully understand your comment that I’m 20 years behind, when you end by saying there’s very much still a market for a quality outdoor activity supplier between Chichester and Brighton – yet you’re the one who won’t pay the fuel costs to visit one?

      Thus one hand advocating traditional retailing, but on another hand suggesting that such a model is 20 years out of date.

      As for Peglers opening further shops – These shops were all opened prior to the explosion of online retailing.

      I don’t think hindsight would have been of much use to them as I don’t think anyone could have predicted the future impact of internet retailing in the early 1990s.

      For example, I wrote a piece for the Argus on Christmas shopping online in December 1999. The then Editor reduced the piece from 1200 words to 400 words as he didn’t think internet shopping was relevant to his readership.

      Many thanks though for your contribution.

      Kind regards,


      • A sad day for walkers. You cant get what you need from the internet in terms of footwear. Its so personal so such a shop that gives you the scope to try on and spend as much time as you want was worth the expense. I cant thank the owners enough for the service they have given me over the years, something that no longer exists.

        A sad day indeed.

  3. I am always saddened when another family business has to close. However, some years ago our small family camping shop in Littlehampton found itself ‘squeezed’ by Peglers, the digging up of the High Street and the Foot and Mouth Disease.
    We took the difficult decision to downsize, specialise and move off the High Street into a smaller shop. Our existing Website was improved and now we are a thriving business maintaining the counter service but supported by an online operation.
    I partly agree with ‘Pragmatic’ above, change or die…

  4. I will always spend money on fuel to visit a high street retailer in preference to supporting impersonal on line shopping!

  5. The personal service at that shop was imeasurable- a sad loss. When Amazon and there ilk dont pay their fair share of taxes the Chancellor turns to those he can tax – you and I

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