Town centre stores closing

A year after several high profile names disappeared from Ipswich's main shopping area, two more well-known brands are set to vanish.

IPSWICH: A year after several high profile names disappeared from Ipswich's main shopping area, two more well-known brands are set to vanish.

This time last year it was Zavvi and Woolworths that were the big name casualties of the economic downturn; next month the town will lose its Robert Dyas and Currys.digital stores.

A homeware retailer, Robert Dyas was established in 1872 and has 100 shops across the south of England.

A sign in the window of the store in Westgate Street read: “Store closing. Dear valued customer, we're very sorry to tell you that this branch of Robert Dyas will unfortunately be closing on Saturday January 30, 2010.

“You can still find all of the homeware essentials you love at our next nearest store, which is 45-47 High Street, Colchester. We look forward to seeing you there.”

A company spokeswoman said it was “with regret” that, despite their best efforts, they have been able to make the store profitable enough to be sustainable.

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She said: “This is largely due to the location of the within Ipswich centre, which is a little off pitch for our type of store. We are fully committed to investing in our existing store estate, having recently re-fitted our stores in Colchester and Maidenhead.”

Currys.digital was the new name given to the Dixons high street stores by the DSG International group in 2006.

A poster displayed at Currys.digital store in Tavern Street read: “Important notice. This store will be closing on 24th January 2010. All refunds and exchanges must be taken to the Currys Superstore at Copdock Interchange. We apologise for any inconvenience.”

A spokeswoman said the decision to close the branch had been part of a review of all outlets, announced in 2008, and staff would be offered posts “elsewhere in the company”.

She said: “It was announced 18 months ago that we would be reviewing all of our high street stores as leases came up for renewal.”

Despite the impending closures, Paul Clement, executive director of Ipswich Central, a group representing town centre businesses, said the town had a promising retail future - if the right approach was taken.

He said: “We will always see closures - it happens every year. It's not a significant story this year (but) it is disappointing that there are two in one week.

“I think Ipswich urgently needs to get its act together in terms of its marketing to new retailers; in the past it has not been good enough.

“Now is a really good time to get its story straight and properly market itself to retailers. If we don't do that, other towns and cities up and down the county will get ahead.”

Mr Clement said it would take the borough council, county council and Ipswich Central to work together to promote the town in the best way.

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