The biggest store in Fleetwood’s main shopping area is set to close.
Fashion shop Store Twenty One in Fleetwood will shut as its owners battle financial difficulties.
It’s a massive shame that we are losing yet another one of our shops. It’s hardly going to attract people into Fleetwood
Traders fear the closure could be the final nail in the coffin for the town’s retail sector. The shop, which opened on Lord Street in December 2010, is currently in the middle of its closing-down sale.
The nationwide clothes, homeware and toy chain is expected to fall into administration at a court hearing next month if a solution to recent financial difficulties cannot be found.
The news comes as another blow to one of Fleetwood’s main shopping areas.
Robert Brown, chairman of the chamber of trade, said: “It’s going to be yet another property in Fleetwood that’s going to be standing empty.
“It’s a massive shame that we are losing yet another one of our shops. It’s hardly going to attract people into Fleetwood.”
Paul Haslam, owner of the designer clothes shop Northern Rags on Poulton Street, said: “It’s very worrying because at the end of the day it’s one of the biggest stores in the town and brings in the most people.
“The question is who is going to take over that space - or is it just going to be left to rot?”
Mr Haslam, who founded a special Fylde coast loyalty card scheme which rewards regular customers with discounts in more than 100 local shops, added that the closure was a sign of how people no longer support high street businesses.
He said: “It shows how people don’t support local businesses any more. People are saying it’s terrible that Store 21 is closing - but they’d rather do their shopping on the internet than shop there. Some of the people I have seen crying doom and gloom have never set foot in there.
“Most people out there think there should be clothes shops and that there should be a butchers and a bakers and that they don’t have to use them because they’ll just always be there. But at the end of the day they’re businesses, they need to bring in the money, and if they don’t bring in the money we’re going to lose them.
“I think it’s terrible for the town and its a real shame for all the poor people who are going to lose their jobs because of it.”
Steve Lynton, owner of the Granada Fish Bar and Restaurant on North Albert Street, took a more positive view.
He said: “In our town shops shut down and open up all over the place. Obviously we would like to see more open businesses, but compared to some other towns we’re not doing too badly.
“It will be quite sad if the shop isn’t taken over by somebody else because it’s such a big store and brings in a lot of people.
“Of course I think all the shops we have here bring in business, its just better if there’s more of them because then we all feel the benefits.”
A spokesman at Sheffield-based Store TwentyOne declined to comment.