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News Every Day |

‘How come’ cry baffled shoppers as discount retailer with 200 stores reveals exact date it will close branch in days

SHOPPERS have been left baffled after a major retailer with 200 branches revealed the exact date it will shut one of its branches.

The Original Factory Shop in Taunton will shutter permanently on Saturday, April 6, after opening in just March last year.

Alamy
The Original Factory Shop is permanently closing one of its Somerset branches[/caption]

The retailer, which currently runs over 200 UK branches, announced the closure of the Somerset branch on its Facebook page.

The post read: “We are sorry to let you know our store will close its doors on April 6, 2024.

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the local community and our store colleagues for their support throughout our time here in Taunton.”

Locals and shoppers have been left gutted and confused by the announcement.

Reacting on Facebook, one said: “How come you are closing. You haven’t been there that long.”

Another commented: “Of no, it’s been wonderful having you in County Walk, very sad news.”

A third baffled shopper added “haven’t been there that long”.

It comes after The Original Factory Shop announced it will be pulling down the shutters of its branch in Harwich, Essex.

The store will close for good on the same date as the Taunton branch – April 6.

It comes after the retailer, known for selling everything from clothing to homeware and stationery, shut a number of branches last year.

This includes in Chepstow, Wales, Mildenhall, Suffolk, Bodmin in Cornwall and Bideford in Devon.

However, it’s not all bad news as the retailer has opened a string of branches since August. The full list of 16 is:

  • Kirkintilloch – opened August 24
  • Stonehaven – opened August 31
  • Blandford Forum – opened August 31
  • Haddington – opened September 7
  • Wetherby – opened September 7
  • Nairn – opened September 14
  • Ashbourne – opened September 14
  • Castle Douglas – opened September 21
  • Penrith – opened September 21
  • Inverness – opened September 28
  • Attleborough – opened September 28
  • Ayr – opened October 5
  • Ringwood – opened October 5
  • Perth – opened October 12
  • Lanark – opened October 19
  • Peterhead – opened October 26

The Original Factory Shop said the raft of new stores, some of which opened in former M&Co locations, would create 160 jobs.

Phil Briggs, managing director for The Original Factory Shop, said last August: “Our investment in new store openings is about making sure we have the right stores in the right place.

“We’re identifying catchments where The Original Factory Shop is not represented and that includes a focus on high streets in major towns.”

What else is happening on the high street?

Retailers across the UK have been feeling the squeeze in recent years as shoppers increasingly turn to online retail.

Plenty of households have also cut back on spending since the pandemic and with the cost of living so high.

High wage and business rates have also compounded pressure on retailers, forcing some to close shops permanently.

Several major brands collapsed in 2023, including Wilko and Paperchase.

Others have struggled this year, including The Body Shop and Authentic Brands Group, which owns Ted Baker.

In February, Hobbycraft’s owner, Bridgepoint, was reported to be exploring “strategic options” for the business, which could include putting the retailer up for auction.

In January, struggling fashion brand Superdry said it was looking at “cost-saving options” which could include store closures and job cuts.

Retailers closing stores in 2024

RETAILERS have been feeling the squeeze since the pandemic, while shoppers are cutting back on spending due to the soaring cost of living crisis.

High energy costs and a move to shopping online are also taking a toll, and many high street shops have struggled to keep going.

Here’s a list of all the big-name brands closing stores this year:

  • Argos – The brand announced plans to close 100 standalone UK branches last year as it looks to move away from the high street and focus on expanding its presence in supermarkets.
  • B&Q – The chain has over 300 shops across the UK, so chances are you have one near you, but some stores have closed in recent months.
  • Boots – The health and beauty chain announced that it would be closing 300 stores last July. Closures are ongoing and this will see the retailer’s estate reduced from 2,200 to 1,900 shops.
  • Clintons – Clintons mulled plans to close 38 shops in a bid to avoid insolvency late last year. We’ve listed the stores affected.
  • Costa Coffee – The caffeine giant has around 2,000 sites nationwide, so chances are you’ll have one near you. The chain has shut the doors to dozens of its sites recently. We’ve revealed which stores are due to close this year.
  • Iceland – The supermarket has more than 900 stores but closed nearly two dozen sites in 2023, and more selected shops are due to shut.
  • Lidl – The supermarket, which has 950 stores, is changing up shop locations, which has meant that some stores have to close. But the retailer is also looking to open 12 new supermarkets.
  • M&S – M&S, which runs 405 stores across the country, has been closing a string of branches across the country in a blow for shoppers. It’s not all bad news, though, because the chain also has big plans to open dozens of new shops as well.
  • Trespass – The firm announced in July last year that it was closing six branches, but more are on the way.
  • WHSmith – The retail giant, which runs over 1,100 stores, has shuttered eight stores since March 2023, but more are coming.

But, as is the case with The Original Factory Shop, it’s not such a bleak picture across the board.

A number of retailers have been growing their store presence on the high street.

B&M has opened 17 branches already this year, while Aldi has its eyes set on opening hundreds more branches in the coming years.

DIY chain Screwfix is also set to open dozens of branches as its owner Kingfisher looks to expand its nationwide presence.

Do you have a money problem that needs sorting? Get in touch by emailing squeezeteam@thesun.co.uk.

Plus, you can join our Sun Money Chats and Tips Facebook group to share your tips and stories.

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